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Beijing Olympics Tennis - Federer and Ivanovic Top Seeds

 

Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic, the world's top-ranked tennis players, are the No. 1 seeds for the Beijing Olympic tennis tournament, which begins on Sunday. The Swiss Federer will open play against Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, while the Serbian Ivanovic takes on Mariya Koryttseva of the Ukraine, the 53rd- ranked player in the world.

The field will consist of nine of the top 10 men in the world, including Spain's Rafael Nadal, who will take over the overall No. 1 ranking on Monday, August 18th. Nadal has won seven titles this year, including an epic victory over Federer at Wimbledon last month. It will be Nadal's first Olympic appearance in singles play, as the 22 yr old Spaniard competed in doubles only in 2004. Nadal will play Italy's Potito Starace in the opening round.

For Federer, his reign as the top player will come to a close for the first time in 235 weeks. After an explosive 2007 season in which he won eight titles, he has won just twice this year (Estoril, Portugal & Halle, Germany). His four-year winning streak at Wimbledon also ended this year, as he lost a historic match to Nadal in five-grueling sets. This will be Federer's third Olympics, having competed in Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004). He has yet to medal in any event.

The American team will feature singles play from James Blake, ranked eighth in the world and Robby Ginepri, ranked 59th. Both Blake and Ginepri will make their Olympic debuts. One notable absence on the American team is Andy Roddick, who opted to stay home defend his ATP title this week in Mason, Ohio.  However, the best chance for medals for the US are on the women's side with the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. Both will play singles and doubles. Back in 2000 at the Sydney Games, Venus became the second woman to win the singles and doubles gold medal.

Other Americans include Lindsay Davenport, the 1996 gold medalist in Atlanta. She is one of seven gold medalists playing in this tournament.  Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States are the top contenders in the doubles tournament. The American duo has won four events this year, but the Bryans were eliminated in the quarterfinals in Athens four years ago. Nicolas Massu of Chile will be back to defend his gold medal in both singles and doubles. Massu will once again team with Fernando Gonzalez, who won their country's first Olympic gold medals in Athens.

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