Somdev clears first hurdle; Prakash loses

Roger Federer, Dinara Safina given pole positions in the US Open


India’s Somdev Devvarman in action against USA's Alex Bogomolov during a match of USTA 2009 in New York on Tuesday. PTI

Somdev, ranked 161, beat the 133rd ranked American of Russian origin for the second time in a month Tuesday, having beaten him to qualify for the LA Open late last month, also in straight sets.

Prakash’s fight-back against Falla, who is ranked 31st for the qualifiers, was of no avail as he lost a tight first-set tie-break, won the second but could not carry the momentum into the third.

The Indian will now play Dutchman Igor Sijsling who moved into the second round as his opponent Joshua Goodall of Britain retired trailing 2-4 in the third set after losing the first 6-7 (7) and winning the second 6-2. Defending champion Serena Williams was seeded No 2 for the US Open behind Dinara Safina because the tournament stuck to its policy of strictly following the world rankings.

Roger Federer was on Tuesday seeded No 1 for the fifth time at the year’s last Grand Slam. He is ranked No 1 and has won the US Open five years in a row. Safina is No 1 on the WTA Tour, which based the rankings on performances across tournaments over the preceding 52 weeks.

The younger sister of former men’s No 1 Marat Safin is still seeking her first Grand Slam title. She is winless in three major finals, including a loss to Williams at the Australian Open in January.

The draw will be announced Thursday, and the tournament begins on Monday. After the top two women, two-time US Open champion Venus Williams is No 3, followed by Beijing Olympics gold medalist Elena Dementieva and 2008 US Open runner-up Jelena Jankovic.

Maria Sharapova is No 29 - barely earning one of the 32 seedings after rising from No 49 in the rankings last week. Sharapova is among a dozen Grand Slam singles champions seeded at this year’s US Open. One major champion in the field but not seeded is 2005 US Open winner Kim Clijsters, who recently came out of retirement and received a wild card from the USTA.

After Federer in the men’s seedings are 2008 US Open runner-up Andy Murray, six-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 2007 US Open runner-up Novak Djokovic and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick.

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