- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) As much as Pete Sampras has struggled over the past two years, he's managed to play terrific tennis during the U.S. Open.
That won't be an easy task this time, thanks to yesterday's draw.
Possible opponents for the four-time Open champion, seeded 17th, include 15th-seeded Guillermo Canas in the third round, No.3 Tommy Haas in the fourth, followed by either No.5 Tim Henman or No.11 Andy Roddick. And that's just to get to the semifinals.
The year's last Grand Slam tournament starts Monday, and Serena and Venus Williams will be expected to meet in a Grand Slam final for the third straight time. Serena beat her older sister at the French Open and Wimbledon.
Top-seeded Serena got a more favorable draw than Venus, the two-time defending Open champion. No.2-seeded Venus has Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis on her side of the field.
Serena pulled out of a tournament last week because of left knee tendinitis and probably will benefit from avoiding top players until later rounds. Her first match is against wild-card entry Corina Morariu, an accomplished doubles player who recently returned to action after fighting leukemia since May2001.
"That'll be a celebration, just for her to be on the court," U.S. Fed Cup captain Billie Jean King said. "Maybe it's fitting she'll play the No.1 seed, so the whole world will know what she's overcome."
The earliest Williams could face a top-20 player is in the fourth round, against 15th-seeded Anastasia Myskina.
The women's round-of-eight matchups could be: Serena Williams vs. No.8 Justine Henin; Venus Williams vs. Monica Seles; No.3 Capriati vs. No.7 Kim Clijsters; and No.4 Lindsay Davenport vs. No.5 Jelena Dokic.
Capriati could meet No.10 Amelie Mauresmo in the quarters. Mauresmo beat her in the final in Montreal last week and in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
The man who beat Sampras in last year's Open final, top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, might have his toughest matches early.
Hewitt, the Wimbledon champion, could be in for a second-round meeting with 1997 finalist Greg Rusedski, who owns the fastest serve in ATP Tour history (149 mph). Rusedski beat Hewitt on a hard court in Indianapolis this month.
Hewitt could face No.25 James Blake whose first career tournament victory came last week at Legg Mason in the District in the third round, the same point at which they met during the 2001 Open. Blake pushed Hewitt to five sets in that match, which was marred by Hewitt's outburst at a linesman that some interpreted as racially tinged.
Andre Agassi, seeded sixth, doesn't figure to be tested until a possible fourth-round match against No.9 Carlos Moya, the 1998 French Open champion.
Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson, seeded 12th and in Hewitt's quarter of the draw, said in Sweden that he'll pull out because of a shoulder injury. The Open referee hadn't received official word of Johansson's withdrawal as of last night.

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