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Nadal, Safina top Wimbledon seeds

DEFENDING champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked women's player Dinara Safina were seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon yesterday.

There were no big surprises when the All England Club announced the seedings for the grasscourt grand slam tournament, which opens on Monday. The draw will be held tomorrow.

Wimbledon stuck closely to the world rankings in determining the seeding lists for the two-week tournament.

The top six spots in the men's list follow the rankings - headed by Nadal. Five-time champion Roger Federer is No. 2, with Andy Murray at No. 3. Murray won his first grasscourt title at Queen's Club on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the tournament since Bunny Austin in 1938, who then went on to become the last British men's finalist at Wimbledon.

They are followed by No. 4 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Juan Martin Del Porto and No. 6 Andy Roddick. Eighth-ranked Fernando Verdasco is seeded No. 7 ahead of Gilles Simon.

Marat Safin, a semifinalist last year, is the No. 15 seed despite being ranked 23rd, while the big-serving Ivo Karlovic is at No. 23 while having a ranking of 31.

Among the women, Safina of Russia is followed by Serena Williams and defending champion Venus Williams.

The only major change from the rankings is 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova as the No. 24 seed despite being ranked 59th.

Sharapova has plunged down the rankings after nine months out with a shoulder injury but reached the semifinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham last week.

In Den Bosch, the Netherlands, defending champion David Ferrer reached the quarterfinals of the Ordina Open yesterday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over compatriot Oscar Hernandez.

Ferrer's next opponent at the grasscourt tournament is another Spaniard, Ivan Navarro, who upset last year's losing finalist Marc Gicquel on Tuesday.

"Fans cheered me more than they did for Oscar," Ferrer said. "Oscar made me run a lot but running is also part of my game."

German qualifier Benjamin Becker, who ousted top-seeded Fernando Verdasco on Tuesday, will play Michael Llodra in the last eight.

Women's draw

In the women's draw, sixth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia advanced to the quarterfinal after beating Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. On a bad day for the Bondarenko sisters, Alona Bondarenko also crashed out after losing 6-4, 5-7, 3-6 to fifth-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy. Schiavone, next meets Olga Govortsova of Belarus, who defeated Nathalie Dechy of France 6-1, 6-3.

In Eastbourne, England, French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was dumped out in the first round of the Aegon International on Tuesday, losing 0-6, 3-6 to Aleksandra Wozniack of Canada.

"It's really tough for me," the second-seeded Kuznetsova said. "I played for two months on clay and I have it almost in my blood."

Third-seeded Jelena Jankovic and No. 4 Vera Zvonareva were also beaten.

Li Na joined Chinese compatriot Zheng Jie in the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Elena Baltacha of Britain.



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