Federer to open title defence against Hrbaty | sports | Hindustan Times
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Federer to open title defence against Hrbaty

sports Updated: Jun 20, 2008 22:19 IST

Roger Federer will begin his quest for a sixth consecutive singles title at Wimbledon with a first-round match against experienced Slovak Dominik Hrbaty. The Swiss, winner of his last 59 grasscourt matches, cannot come up against his French Open nemesis Rafael Nadal until the final although the sight of world number three Novak Djokovic in his half will be a worry for the 26-year-old.

Defending women's champion Venus Williams was paired with British wildcard Naomi Cavaday in Friday's draw at the All England Club, but the American faces a tough task should she make it through the first week.

The seventh seed, bidding for a fifth title at Wimbledon, is in the bottom half of the draw and could face a quarter-final against second seed Jelena Jankovic and a prospective semi-final with world number three Maria Sharapova.

New world number one and women's top seed Ana Ivanovic will open her campaign against Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay.

Federer has been handed a relatively tough draw with a potential second round against big-serving Swede Robin Soderling while Gael Monfils, who he beat in four sets in the French semi-finals, lurking as a potential third-round opponent.

Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who is Federer’s quarter, faces Dutch youngster Robin Haase in the first round. Nadal plays world 123 Andreas Beck in the first round but things could get tougher in the second where he could face rising Latvian teenager Ernests Gulbis. Australian Open champion Djokovic plays Michael Berrer of Germany. In the women's singles Jankovic plays Ukraine's Olga Savchuk while Sharapova, champion in 2004, takes on French qualifier Stephanie Foretz.

Sixth seed Serena Williams, who is in the top half of the draw, has a tricky start against Estonia's French Open quarter-finalist Kaia Kanepi.