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post #1 of 93 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2007, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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2008 Australian Open

Williams sisters to combine at Open

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November 15, 2007

TENNIS fans can expect a double dose of action from the most high-profile siblings in world sport after Venus and Serena Williams today confirmed their intention to play doubles at next year's Australian Open.
The Williams sisters have not played doubles at Melbourne Park since they won the coveted title for the second time in three years in 2003.

The pair played their first doubles match together in four years at Wimbledon this year before withdrawing in the second round because of injury.

They haven't returned to the court together since.

Because injuries have kept them off the doubles court for so long they now only have a nominal ranking of 9999.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was thrilled to hear of their intention to play doubles.

“The Williams sisters in full flight on the same side of the net is one of the great sights in tennis,” Tiley said.

“They are also one of the most skilled pairings on the world circuit with an incredibly successful record in doubles.”

The Williams sisters are one of only five pairings in women's tennis history to win a career doubles grand slam.

In all, they have won six majors (Wimbledon and Australian Open twice, US and French) and an Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000.

“It is great news for Australian tennis fans that they are coming here to play singles and to try and recapture their doubles crown,” Tiley said.

“We can't get enough of the Williams sisters, especially after Serena's amazing effort in 2007,” Tiley said.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...010361,00.html

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post #2 of 93 (permalink) Old Nov 17th, 2007, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Williams sisters to team up in Australian Open doubles

Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:52am IST
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Venus and Serena Williams are planning to join forces in the Australian Open women's doubles competition for the first time in five years.
The American sisters have proved to be an almost unstoppable force when they team up even though they only play doubles for fun and rarely practise.
The pair usually need wild cards to get into events because they do not play enough to have a ranking but they have still won six grand slam titles, two each in Melbourne and Wimbledon and one at the French and U.S. Open.
They also struck gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and are one of only five pairings who have won all four women's grand slam doubles titles.
"The Williams sisters in full flight on the same side of the net is one of the great sights in tennis," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement.
"They are also one of the most skilled pairings on the world circuit with an incredibly successful record in doubles.
They won the Australian Open for the second time in 2003 but did not play doubles again until last year's Wimbledon where they reached the second round before pulling out when Serena strained her ankle in a singles match.
Venus went on to win the Wimbledon singles title for the fourth time. Serena won her third Australian Open singles crown earlier in the year.
"It is great news for Australian tennis fans that they are coming here to play singles and to try and recapture their doubles crown," Tiley said.
"We can't get enough of the Williams sisters, especially after Serena's amazing effort in 2007."
The Australian Open will be played at Melbourne Park from Jan. 14-27.

http://in.reuters.com/articlePrint?a...30509620071115

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post #3 of 93 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 2007, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open


Williams ready for Aust Open title defence

Posted 1 hour 32 minutes ago
World number seven Serena Williams says she is in good shape to defend her Australian Open tennis title next month.
Williams has arrived in Perth several days late to play for the United States in the Hopman Cup.
Her arrival was delayed due to a stomach flu.
Williams says today she is looking forward to playing the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova at the Hopman Cup.
"I played her this time last year in Hobart, and we had an extremely tough match so I know that she's a great player and I have to be ready," she said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...?section=sport

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post #4 of 93 (permalink) Old Dec 30th, 2007, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Williams aims to defend Aust Open title
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Dec 31, 2007
World No.7 Serena Williams says she's fit and fully prepared to defend her Australian Open title.
Williams made a belated arrival at the Hopman Cup in Perth today after missing the opening US tie in the mixed teams event due to illness.
"I just had the stomach flu. I was just really sick and that's not very fun to have. But I'm good ... I recovered really fast," Williams said.
Meghann Shaughnessy successfully substituted as Mardy Fish's partner in the US 2-1 victory over India yesterday.
"I was so glad when I heard that she won and Mardy won yesterday. I was really excited. I owe her a big thank you."
Williams's year has been plagued by injury after the then ranked 81 singles player became only the second unseeded woman to win the Australian title in the Open era.
But the US drawcard says she's fully prepared to defend her title but unlike last year will have a week off ahead of the event that begins on January 14.
"Last year was cutting it close. I never really like to play a week before a grand slam. And especially as a defending champion, I really want to make sure I'm here trying to get ready," she said.
"I'm definitely feeling fully prepared, I'm really having a lot of fun now days."
Williams says she's also ready to repeat a Hopman Cup win she had with James Blake in 2002.
Her first match tomorrow is with Lucie Safarova, Then it's local favourite Alicia Molik on Thursday.
"I played her (Safarova) this time last year in Hobart and we had an extremely tough match," Williams said.
"I know that she's a great player and I have to be ready.
"Alicia is going to be a fan favourite but I'm used to playing fan favourites."

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/536641/1527452

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post #5 of 93 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2008, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Fast start for Williams, Federer champions hold court

Leo Shanahan
January 6, 2008
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"I'M SEEING it fast now. I'm seeing it fast." Reigning Australian Open Women's champion Serena Williams took to the resurfaced Rod Laver Arena for the first time yesterday, and if her repeated comments to her two trainers as she traded blows on the new, blue Plexicushion court are any guide, it's quickly getting up to speed.
During a extremely hot Melbourne afternoon that also saw men's champion Roger Federer begin his quest to win his fourth Australian Open, Williams commented several times on the speed and hardness of the new Plexicushion court.
The three-time champion, who had just flown in from Perth where, with Mardy Fish, she won the Hopman Cup on Friday night, repeated her comment, adding that she thought the court was "even harder" at times.
Williams looked in ominous form as she smashed forehands, backhands and volleys to two male training partners who gave the impression of soldiers under fire.
In contrast, after having to delay his first practice session on Rod Laver Arena due to the intense heat, Federer took it very easy amid the on-court temperature of well over 40 degrees. The world No. 1 casually tested his forehands and backhands for a little under half an hour, periodically stopping to wish Australian acquaintances and colleagues a happy new year.
Throwing new balls and encouraging from the sidelines, his partner Mirka, commented on the hardness of the court, but the opinions of the man who is odds-on favourite to win the Australian Open were kept solely in Swiss German.
As part of his preparation, the Swiss will compete in the Kooyong Classic starting in Melbourne on Wednesday, which also includes a raft of other top-class players.
Federer is seeking his fourth Australian Open championship and third in a row as well as his 13th grand slam title.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...950130958.html

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Williams ready for next Grand Slam


5th January 2008, 11:15 WST








World No 7. Serena Williams says she is match fit and ready for the Australian Open.
But she says she’ll enter the tournament as just another tennis player, even though she is the current title holder after last year becoming only the second unseeded woman to win the grand slam.
“I’m excited, I’m going in not as the defending champion but just as a player wanting to win the title. That’s how I always see it,” Williams told reporters.
Williams and 39th ranked Mardy Fish yesterday won a fifth Hopman Cup trophy for the US in Perth against Serbia.
She said the mixed teams event had been good preparation ahead of the Australian Open, starting on January 14.
“I had two really good matches and I had some great doubles matches.
“So seeing that I’ve played doubles and singles in Australia I feel like I’m really fit, really match fit and ready.”
Williams will not play in next week’s Sydney International and plans to fly straight to Melbourne instead.
“It definitely pays when I fly out here earlier.
I’ve 10 days or so before the tournament starts, nine days, so I’ll be ready,” she said.

http://www.thewest.com.au/printfrien...ontentID=53245

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post #7 of 93 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2008, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Tennis has an image problem

Ron Reed
January 05, 2008 12:00am

NEVER let it be said that we don't listen to the readers around here.
This from the letters page during the week: "Last year the media gave Serena Williams a hard time about her appearance, yet this year she looks great and (surprise) there's little comment?
"No wonder females have body issues. How about reinforcing the positive for a change?"
Consider it done, Sofie Kowalinski, of Traralgon.
Yep, Serena is back - and looking trim, taut and terrific, too. Judging by her form at the Hopman Cup in Perth, she's playing accordingly, too.
This column tries hard to learn from its mistakes, so we'll be heading to the bookies, if that's not an offence in the current tennis climate, to have something on the American winning the Australian Open, which is just nine days away.
Last year we watched Serena - obviously overweight, unfit and coming off an injury-riddled year with a world ranking in the 80s - struggle through her first-round encounter against an ageing battler of no particular note, and declared her title chance "Mission Impossible''.
In fact, we wondered whether she might be washed up for good.
A fortnight later, Serena had done what champions love to do - proved all the critics, sceptics and knockers wrong - by winning the major for the third time; becoming only the second unseeded woman to win the Australian Open.
It was fascinating to watch Serena impose her will and unique aura on a string of bewildered opponents caught like rabbits in a spotlight, until she humiliated tournament favourite Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in the final.
By all the normal dynamics that govern elite sport, Williams had no right to win the Open. But of course she and her sister, Venus, have always occupied a territory somewhere beyond normal, and their presence at any tournament is always a welcome bonus.
It means that the entertainment factor - both on court and in the media room, where their chat is as colourful as their clothes and their performance - is always enhanced.
Serena has put herself through a savage training routine and despite a recent stomach upset, she is fit and well. Her ranking is back to No. 7, and she has declared herself as ambitious as ever.
"Of course I want to be No. 1 and to win grand slams," she said in Perth. "I wouldn't be out here if I didn't have those goals."
This is great news for the Australian Open, which, as usual, has attracted virtually every player in the top 100 of both genders, and yet isn't exactly overflowing with tantalising story-lines.
Since the last Open, tennis has developed a significant image problem, largely due to persistent rumours of match-fixing.
Only this week, Martina Navratilova said the game was easily corruptible. John McEnroe has said he suspects the Russian mafia is involved in tennis.
Russian world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko has been under investigation for months for allegedly tanking, and two Italians, Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali, will miss the January 14-27 Open after being suspended for gambling on matches.
Australian authorities have deemed it necessary to form an anti-corruption commission that will work with the police.
We have also had German Tommy Haas claiming he might have been poisoned during a Davis Cup match in Russia, and Swiss Martina Hingis disappearing off the scene after being busted for cocaine at Wimbledon last year.
It adds up to a lurid backdrop to the first grand slam of 2008, and the focus urgently needs to return to the players.
That is just another reason why the new super-slimline Serena has been such a welcome sight.

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post #8 of 93 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2008, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Australian Open tennis players start to arrive</IMG>

Megan McNaught
January 05, 2008 12:00am

MELBOURNE is about to be gripped by tennis fever as the world's best players arrive in town this weekend.
Most eyes will be on centre court when the Australian Open action starts on January 14, but there will be plenty of opportunities for player-spotting around town.
Many champions return to their favourite haunts and follow the same rituals that served them well in the past.
The Crown complex proves a popular hangout every year.
Players reported to be staying at Crown this year include Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Vanessa and Serena Williams, and Andy Roddick.
Roddick is a keen poker player and competes in the Aussie Millions poker tournament at Crown, being held at the same time as the Open.
Russian glamour girl Maria Sharapova, runner-up in last year's women's final, got people talking when she was spotted watching him play in private poker rooms.
South Yarra Mexican restaurant Fiesta has been a long-time favourite among players and owner Shaheen Bilwani even dedicated an "Agassi Burrito" to Andre Agassi, who started the craze.
"It is not unusual for us to have three or four different players at the restaurant in one night," he said.
Two years ago the unforgettable Marcos Baghdatis routinely returned to 24-hour Greek eatery Stalactites for souvlakis as he won his way through to the final, staying until 5am one day.
Top-end restaurants including St Kilda's Stokehouse and Japanese eatery Koko at Crown will be popular choices.
Three-time open winner and defending champion Federer likes his privacy and normally sticks to the confines of Crown when he is not playing.
He is among several players who prefer to use the staff gym at Crown rather than the more public hotel gym.
The Williams sisters are often spotted shopping in Chapel St and are regulars in the Versace store.
Unseeded and ranked 81 in the world, Serena Williams caused a sensation last year when she defeated Sharapova in the women's final.
Russian Dimitri Tursunov loves Aussie wildlife and takes part in the wildlife visits organised by Healesville Sanctuary.
Open organisers go to extraordinary lengths to ensure players enjoy their stay, according to Craig Haslam, who has worked in player services for nine years.
"We will book restaurants, organise entertainment, sightseeing, sporting activities, and anything else that the players want," Mr Haslam said.
He said the beauty bar at Rod Laver arena was always flat-out waxing, tanning, and applying make-up to players in preparation for their time on the court.
"Tennis is a glamorous industry these days and it is popular with men and women," he said.
A few of the more bizarre requests he has organised include skydiving and shark diving at Melbourne Aquarium; though in recent years, the requests have been a lot tamer.
"The movies are very popular. I think they like sitting in the air-conditioned comfort and relaxing their muscles," he said.
"Golf is always very popular. They play at the top-end sandbelt courses."

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post #9 of 93 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 2008, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Stars' focus wavers superstitiously beyond thin white line

Gabriella Coslovich
January 7, 2008
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INTERNATIONAL tennis stars, they're such a contradiction: strikingly cosmopolitan and startlingly unadventurous. When they're not barrelling that little yellow ball down the line, they like routine, treading well-worn paths with the insistency of a fast and focused rally. All of which augurs well for fans as the world's greats descend on Melbourne for this week's Kooyong Classic and next week's Australian Open.
It shouldn't be too difficult to spot the stars, if you're into that sort of thing. Life beyond the court is a bit of a racket. You'll find them doing what they do every year: shopping on Chapel Street, staying at Crown, playing at Crown, rubbing noses with koalas at Healesville sanctuary and, ah, stocking up on that all-Australian classic, the Berlei bra.
Serena Williams, she of the smashing forehand and fabulously cantilevered body parts, heads straight to a Berlei outlet upon arrival in Melbourne to amass a year's supply of support, so our deep throat reveals.
Country Road, too, takes her fancy, as does the Versace store at Crown. The Williams women — Serena, Venus and mother Oracene — are regulars at Versace, where dresses range from a modest $850 to a merciless $25,000 — small fry to someone whose yearly pay packet can reach the heights of $10 million.
Call it boring if you must, but players' attachment to the familiar is a matter of saving their energy for what counts (winning) and appeasing the gods of misfortune. Superstition — it's the unspoken constant of the tennis world. If, on a particularly successful year, a tennis player visits a particular restaurant, then superstition dictates that he or she must return to that restaurant to maintain their mojo.
Take South Yarra's Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant founded by a Pakistani family 30 years ago, which has been a firm favourite with the American contingent since Andre Agassi started the trend 11 years ago, visiting with then girlfriend Brooke Shields. When Agassi's attention turned to Steffi Graf, she, too, was treated to Mexican. Fiesta has even coined a meal in his honor: the "Agassi Burrito".
"The US tennis players love their Mexican food because it reminds them of home," says owner Shaheen Bilwani.
But while Fiesta remains popular, it has been superseded by Nobu at Crown. It was only a matter of time, really, only natural that the players should gravitate to a global restaurant chain that started in Beverly Hills and is co-owned by Hollywood star Robert de Niro.
At last count, Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Ivan Ljubicic, Fernando Gonzalez and the Williams women had landed in Melbourne. Maria Sharapova is believed to be arriving today and her good friend (but absolutely not boyfriend) Andy Roddick was expected last night.
He will be dividing his time between the tennis court and the poker table. On Friday, he'll be playing in the Aussie Millions' celebrity and media challenge alongside Mark Philippoussis, who won't be playing any tennis, thanks to his dodgy knee. Which, in itself, is another tradition.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...554486326.html

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

On Tennis: Serena backs her tough talk

By RAVI UBHA
SPECIAL TO THE P-I
The early signs are good for Serena Williams in 2008. She's in better shape and talking tough.
Williams teamed with big-serving Mardy Fish -- who clearly needs to follow her lead and finally get fit -- to lead the U.S. to another Hopman Cup title, in Perth, Australia.
Earlier in the week, she issued a warning to world No. 1 Justine Henin, who dispatched Williams relatively easily in three of the four majors last year and is almost as dominant as Roger Federer.
"Of course I want to be No. 1, and I want to win Grand Slams," Williams, 26, said. "I wouldn't be out there if I didn't have those goals. I love challenges. There's nothing better than a challenge, and I'm best when I am faced with one."
Williams was eluding to last year's Australian Open, when, ranked 81st and with few giving her any chance, she battled her way to the crown. Henin, you may recall, didn't play because she was in the midst of separating from her husband.
Let's hope the two aren't in the same half of the draw for a change.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

great articles

Raúl hasta siempre capitán ♥♥♥


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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Serena Williams fit to face the heat of battle


By Mark Hodgkinson

Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 11/01/2008





Why was a cool blue chosen as the new court colour for the Australian Open? A flame-tinged red would have been more appropriate as temperatures reached a foot-burning 41C during qualifying at Melbourne Park yesterday and players must have been tempted to down their rackets and leap into the nearby Yarra River.
Mark Hodgkinson: Murray faces tough opener in Tsonga
Australian Open intent on avoiding repeat riot The unrelenting sun was all too much for Darya Kustova, of Belarus, who collapsed with heat exhaustion during her opening-round qualifying match against Britain's Katie O'Brien, and was later pushed off court in a wheelchair. Perhaps Kustova should have had a pre-match word with Andy Murray, who has been talking up the benefits of his off-season education in Bikram yoga, with the postures performed in a room about the same temperature as Melbourne Park yesterday. The white-skinned young man from Dunblane says he doesn't mind the heat. Or perhaps Kustova should have just taken note of the new, gym-hardened Serena Williams.
Gym fixed it: Serena Williams put in hard work in the off seasonTennis players are among that rare breed who lose weight at this time of the year, but if there is one who looks as well prepared as ever for the Australian summer, then it is the women's defending champion. When the younger of the Williams sisters arrived at the Down Under Slam last year, she was not only ranked 81, but was plainly overweight, and, on winning the trophy, she was soon admitting to having "a large ass and these knockers". But there isn't as much of Serena at this year's Australian Open.
The 2008 version is much slimmer and trimmer than a year ago and that is bad news for the rest of the field. No one can question her commitment this time round. Williams, who reveals in her website blog that she has been dumped by her boyfriend, plainly put in the hours during the off-season. "It's definitely been a vice of mine, my biggest vice, knowing that I can win without working hard. It's a blessing and a malediction, so to say. But this time, I think I've been training a little more. I am more confident," said Williams, the seventh seed for the tournament, which starts on Monday.
"It's all coming together. I took maybe one week off, if that. Otherwise I have been training every day. I feel like I am going to be solid at Melbourne Park. I'm feeling really match-fit and ready. I really wanted to take a vacation, but it's so hard to be a tennis player and take a vacation. I'm definitely more confident now. I think 12 months ago I wasn't as confident and I felt like I had put a lot of pressure on myself."
If you think that the film and fashion industries obsess over body-image, then women's tennis isn't that far behind. Certainly, there isn't the same scrutiny in men's tennis, apart from the suspicion that Marcos Baghdatis likes his souvlaki, and that David Nalbandian has a bit of a pot-belly. As Zina Garrison once said, "a male athlete is allowed to be overweight, that's no big deal, but for a female athlete to be overweight, now that's seen as the worst thing in the world". And Williams must remember the extraordinary interest that some locals here took in her body last year.
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Williams' new physique has certainly been noted by the tennis world. "She has got some definition in her legs and upper body," Martina Navratilova observed after watching her in the Hopman Cup. "She said she has lost a few pounds and it shows. She is not happy with where she is. She wants to be back to No 1 in the world."
Still, for all the hard work that Williams put in during the close season, she would have been pleased that the heat rule has been changed. Previously, there had been strict guidelines about when the rule was invoked, and so when no more matches would be called - and even then, any matches that had already started had to be completed.
That led to the medical dramas of last year, with Maria Sharapova famously looking as though she had been playing on a hot stove. But, this year, the referee has some discretion about when the rule can be put into operation and players already on court only have to complete the set before the match is suspended.
Serena Williams factfile
Born: Sept 26, 1981, Saginaw, Michigan. Height: 5ft 9in.
Turned professional: Sept 1995.
Career honours: 28 WTA Tour singles titles, 10 WTA Tour doubles titles, 8 grand slam singles titles: Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007), French Open (2002), Wimbledon (2002, 2003), US Open (1999, 2002). Last player, male or female, to have held all four grand slams at the same time. Olympic gold medal in women's doubles (Sydney 2000).
Career earnings: &#163;9.25 million.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Murray draws Tsonga in Australia
by Michelle Fortune, 10 January 2008



World number Roger Federer has been drawn against Diego Hartfield in the first-round of the Australian Open.
The defending champion, missed the Kooyong Classic through illness but is determined to play in the opening grand slam of the year in Melbourne and will face a tough test in the shape of the Argentinian qualifier.
British number one Andy Murray, searching for his first grand slam title, will take on France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his opening match.
Murray made it to the fourth round 12 months ago only to be beaten by Rafael Nadal in five sets, while Tsonga failed to make it past the opening round.
Third seed Novak Djokovic will have to overcome the man who beat Andre Agassi in his final match, Benjamin Becker, while Lleyton Hewitt has been drawn against Steve Darcis.

There is a potential quarter-final clash between Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal, with both players facing unknown qualifiers in the first-round.
The top half of the women's draw has thrown up a couple of interesting scenarios with Justin Henin and Maria Sharpova set to meet in the quarter finals providing they come through their respective matches.
Henin will play Aiko Nakamura in her opening match, while Sharapova has been drawn against Jelena Kostanic Tosic, although the Russian will have to overcome 2000 champion Lindsey Davenport in the second-round, providing both players make it through their first-round encounters.
Women's third seed Jelena Jankovic must defeat Tamira Paszek with Serena Williams set to met Jarmila Gajdosova.
Amelie Mauresmo is also in the top half and she has been drawn against Tatiana Poutchek
Venus Williams is in the bottom-half, which means an all-Williams final is possible.
The Wimbledon champion takes on Zi Yan with fourth seed Ana Ivanovic up against Sorana Cirstea.

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Federer, Henin handed kind draws for Melbourne


Simon Cambers , Reuters

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number one Roger Federer will begin the defense of his Australian Open title against Argentine Diego Hartfield after the draw was made at Melbourne Park on Friday.
The Swiss, bidding for his 13th grand-slam title, was handed a kind draw in the early stages, though he could face a quarter-final against seventh seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, whom he beat in the final 12 months ago.
Federer had to pull out of the warm-up event at Kooyong because of a virus but is expected to be fully fit to play.
Switzerland's Roger Federer practises at Melbourne Park January 10, 2008 ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament, which begins on Monday.

Third seed Novak Djokovic is his projected semi-final opponent, though Argentine David Nalbandian, who beat Federer twice at the end of last year, is lurking in the same half.
Second seed Rafael Nadal, number six Andy Roddick, eighth seed Richard Gasquet and number nine Andy Murray are all in the opposite half.
Nadal and Roddick will both play qualifiers in the first round, while Murray has a tough opening match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the world number 38 from France.
Women's top seed Justine Henin of Belgium takes on Aiko Nakimura of Japan in the first round.
The Belgian, who won the French Open and U.S. Open in 2007, has a seemingly clear path through to the quarter-finals, where she is scheduled to play fifth seed Maria Sharapova.
However, the Russian is likely to face a tough second-round match against former champion Lindsay Davenport.
Davenport, who is unseeded this year, has won three titles in her four events since returning to the tour in September, having had a year off, during which she had her first child.
Serena Williams will begin the defense of her title against Jarmila Gajdosova, a Slovakia-born wildcard now playing for Australia.
The seventh seed, who won her eighth grand-slam title 12 months ago, is scheduled to play third seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the quarter-finals, while Henin would be her likely semi-final opponent.
American Venus Williams, seeded eighth, is in the opposite half and could play Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, whom she beat to win the Wimbledon title last year, in the fourth round.
Williams would then be likely to play fourth seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the quarter-finals.
World number 12 Tommy Haas, a former semi-finalist at Melbourne Park, pulled out on the eve of the draw because of injury.

http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/...6b5124&k=93227

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Re: 2008 Australian Open

Federer, Henin Top Seeds in Australia


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer and Justine Henin took the No. 1 seeds at the Australian Open on Thursday.
As usual at the season's first major event, the top 32 players have been seeded according to their world rankings.
Spain's Rafael Nadal is second, followed by Serbia's Novak Djokovic on the men's side. Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova was No. 2 among the women, ahead of Serbians pair Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic and Russia's Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova was seeded No. 1 last year when she lost the final to Serena Williams, who was unseeded and ranked No. 81 before her stunning comeback to win an eighth Grand Slam singles title.
Serena Williams was seeded seventh this year, one spot above sister Venus Williams, who missed last year's Australian Open.
Federer is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open singles titles.
He has reached the final of all four Grand Slams in the last two seasons, losing only on both trips to Roland Garros to Nadal.
Federer missed his regular Australian Open tuneup at Kooyong this week because of a stomach virus, but expects to be ready when the Open starts Monday.
The draws contain the top 32 ranked women and 30 of the top 32 men. Tommy Haas of Germany and Argentina's Guillermo Canas have withdrawn with shoulder and wrist injuries.
The draw for the Australian Open will be made Friday.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i...3bhMgD8U2VEFG0

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