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Sampras, Hingis Top Wimbledon


Six-time winner Pete Sampras was boosted above Andre Agassi and seeded No. 1 at Wimbledon on Monday, while top-ranked Martina Hingis, who won Wimbledon in 1997, was seeded first in the women's tournament.

Agassi was seeded second in the men's draw, while five grass court specialists Tim Henman, Mark Philippoussis, Richard Krajicek, Pat Rafter and Greg Rusedski gained higher than usual ratings among the top 16 seeded players.

On the women's side, defending champion Lindsay Davenport was seeded No. 2 in the two-week tournament that opens next Monday. The remaining 14 seeded players went according to the WTA Tour rankings.

French Open winner Mary Pierce was third and former Wimbledon champion and French Open runner-up Conchita Martinez was fourth. Among the unseeded women was Anna Kournikova, who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon a year ago and was a semifinalist in '97.

Unlike the other three Grand Slams, which usually strictly follow the ATP and WTA Tour rankings, Wimbledon takes into account a player's record on grass. The impact was felt in the men's side.

Britain's Henman was seeded eighth, six spots above his ATP Tour seedings list. Philippoussis of Australia is ranked 17th but seeded 10th; '96 Wimbledon champion Krajicek is ranked 27th but seeded 12th; and Rusedski is ranked 21st but seeded 14th.

Sampras was given the No. 1 seeding spot for the seventh time at Wimbledon. He is 46-1 at the last seven Wimbledons and 31-1 on Centre Court, where he will begin defo sets in winning last year. His only loss in the seven-year stretch came to Krajicek in the '96 quarterfinals.

Sampras lost 6-4, 6-4 to Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in the final of the Queen's Club tournament Sunday and could face a hard test defending his title this year.

Hewitt is seeded No. 7, the same as his ranking.

For Agassi, the No. 2 seeding is his highest at Wimbledon since he was seeded No. 1 in 1995. Agassi, who won Wimbledon in 1992, retired from Queen's last week after bruising his lower back in a fall. He is expected to be ready for Wimbledon.

To give the five grass-court specialists a seeded spot, Wimbledon's seeding committee dropped four clay-court players ranked in the top 16 by the ATP Tour Spain's Alex Corretja, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Costa , and Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco.

Among the unseeded men were Goran Ivanisevic and Todd Martin . Ivanisevic, a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, was unseeded for the first time since 1990.

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