Venus seeded third; Federer, Roddick are 1-2

Updated: June 16, 2004, 5:16 PM ET
Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Serena Williams will be seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon, despite being ranked only 10th in the world.

The two-time defending champion received a big break in the seedings announced Wednesday by the All England Club, which took into account her previous record and prowess on grass.

Venus Williams, who lost to her sister in the last two Wimbledon finals and is ranked eighth, also got a break when she was seeded No. 3.

Thursday's draw will determine whether the Williams sisters could meet for a third straight year in the final.

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Russia's Anastasia Myskina, the French Open champion who is ranked No. 3, is seeded second for Wimbledon, which begins Monday.

The women's field is wide open after last week's withdrawals of top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne and No. 2 Kim Clijsters -- Henin-Hardenne with a viral illness and Clijsters with a wrist injury.

Amelie Mauresmo is seeded No. 4, followed by Lindsay Davenport, French Open runner-up Elena Dementieva and Jennifer Capriati.

The seedings were more straightforward for the men, with the top four following the rankings.

Defending champion and top-ranked Roger Federer is No. 1, followed by Andy Roddick. Guillermo Coria, who lost in the French Open final, is No. 3, with 2002 Wimbledon runner-up David Nalbandian at No. 4.

Britain's Tim Henman was bumped up from sixth in the rankings to No. 5 in the seedings. Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero dropped from fifth to sixth.

Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 champion, was seeded at No. 7 _ three places above his ranking.

The Williams sisters, who have faced each other in six Grand Slam finals, both lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open and have slipped steadily in the rankings. Last week, Serena was No. 11, out of the top 10 for the first time in five years.

During one stretch, the sisters won eight of 11 Grand Slam tournaments. But Venus last won a Slam in 2001, and Serena hasn't been in a major final since last year's Wimbledon.

Serena had surgery on her left knee Aug. 1, and didn't return to the tour until March. Venus lost six months to a torn abdominal muscle, won consecutive tournaments in April and May, then hurt her left ankle at the German Open in May.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press