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Federer to embark on title defence

sports Updated: Aug 31, 2009 00:53 IST

Reigning US Open champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams will begin defending their titles on Monday as an opening-day match list also had Venus Williams and Andy Roddick at night.

The year's final Grand Slam tournament commences on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts with former world number one Kim Clijsters of Belgium facing Ukraine's Viktoriya Kutuzova in the first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Clijsters is making her first US Open appearance since winning the 2005 women's title. She returned to the court earlier this month after a layoff of more than two years.

Federer, who has won the past five US Open men's titles and has not lost at the US Open since the fourth round in 2003, begins his quest for six in a row against 18-year-old American Devin Britton in the second match.

“Doesn't matter who you play, where you play. If you think the guy is not going to make a game that's absurd,” Federer said.

Serena Williams, who won her 11th career Slam title last month at Wimbledon, begins her quest for a fourth US Open title in the following match against American Alexa Glatch.

The main court's night session starts with US third seed Venus Williams meeting Russia's Vera Dushevina followed by men's fifth seed Roddick facing Germany's Bjorn Phau.

US Open officials have said they plan to stage a women's match after a men's match at some point during the fortnight. Men usually play the later matches in part as they are best-of-five compared to the best-of-three for women.

Murray hopes form can bring him TITLE

Andy Murray has improved since reaching his first Grand Slam final at last year's US Open, boosting his confidence that he might be able to capture his first major. He is seeded second to defending champion Roger Federer, who beat him in straight sets in last year's final.

“I'm playing a lot better,” Murray said. “Up until Wimbledon last year, I was playing top-10 tennis but not tennis that was consistent enough to get me to number two in the world.”

Murray, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, is in the opposite half of the draw and could face a championship rematch against Federer. “One of the few things I want to do now in tennis is to win a Slam,” Murray said.