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Murray seeded fourth

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:13

With the seedings following the respective ATP and WTA Tour rankings for men and women, world number one Rafael Nadal has been named top seed for the first Grand Slam of the year, which begins in Melbourne on Monday. It is the first time in four years that Roger Federer, the world number two and second seed, has not been on top of the draw.

Serbian world number one Jelena Jankovic is the top seed in the women’s draw, with American Serena Williams seeded second.

Murray, who is trying to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry back in 1936, has won all of his eight matches so far in 2009, including beating Nadal once and Federer twice.

In fact, he has beaten Federer five times in their seven career meetings – his only defeats coming in their first meeting at Bangkok in 2005 and in the US Open final last year – and has been installed as joint favourite alongside the Swiss superstar for the title at Melbourne Park.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is seeded third behind Nadal and Federer, who is seeking a 14th Grand Slam title, while 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the fifth seed following the withdrawal of Russia’s world number five Nikolay Davydenko.

Jankovic, who withdrew from a team exhibition event in Hong Kong last week due to illness, leads three-time champion Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the top eight.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova’s withdrawal from the tournament because of ongoing shoulder problems has allowed the rest of the field to move up, meaning world number 11 Nadia Petrova moves into the top 10.

World number 20 Katarina Srebotnik, of Slovenia, will miss the tournament because of an Achilles injury and world number 29 Li Na, of China, has been forced out with a knee injury.

That has allowed Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn, the world number 35, to make it in at number 32.

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