Kafelnikov, Hingis Tops For Paris

Yevgeny Kafelnikov will be the top seed for the French Open despite a recent run of six consecutive first-round losses.

Martina Hingis, the Australian Open winner, was made the No. 1 women's seed on Tuesday, ahead of Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles.

The French Open, the clay-court major that begins May 24, bases its seedings on the current rankings of the ATP and WTA tours.

That accounts for Kafelnikov, who ascended to No. 1 for the first time in April, being the top seed, with Pete Sampras second.

Thanks to a runner-up finish in last week's Italian Open, Patrick Rafter moves up to No. 3, with French Open champion Carlos Moya at No. 4 and Richard Karjicek at No. 5.

Kafelnikov has played embarrassing tennis since winning the Australian Open in January and a tournament in London a month later.

At the Italian Open, the Russian broke his run of six first-round defeats before losing in the third round to Gustavo Kuerten. Kuerten won the title in Rome and is seeded No. 8 for Paris.

In the women's draw, defending champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario is seeded No. 7. Jana Novotna is No. 4, Venus Williams is No. 5 and Steffi Graf is No. 6.

Four Frenchwomen are among the 16 seeds: No. 8 Mary Pierce, No. 9 Nathalie Tauziat, No. 12 Sandrine Testud and No. 16 Julie Halard-Decugis.

Halard-Decugis, who advanced to the final of last week's Berlin Open, gained five ranking spots to capture her first seeding in a major.

Australian Open finalist Amelie Mauresmo and Anna Kournikova have slipped from the top 16 and will be unseeded at Roland Garros.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed


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