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Man to beat

Defending champ Kuerten earns French Open's top seed

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Posted: Tuesday May 22, 2001 9:57 AM
Updated: Tuesday May 22, 2001 1:46 PM
  Gustavo Kuerten Gustavo Kuerten will be looking to defend his French Open crown as the No. 1 seed. AP

PARIS (AP) -- Defending champion Gustavo Kuerten, who holds the No. 1 spot in the rankings, will be the top-seeded player at next week's French Open.

He will be followed in the men's seedings by Marat Safin, Andre Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Pete Sampras.

The $10 million French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, starts Monday. Seedings are based on the ATP's rolling 52-week ranking system.

Agassi, winner of the French Open in 1999, won the year's first Grand Slam event -- the Australian Open. Sampras holds a record 13 Grand Slam titles but has never gotten past the semifinals at the French.

By the Numbers
Gustavo Kuerten 2001 statistics
Category  Information 
Starts 
ATP Record  25-5 
Wins 
Clay Record  24-3  
*As of May 21, 2001
 
 

Kuerten won the Monte Carlo Masters Series in April and reached the final of the Italian Open in Rome, another major clay-court tournament, this month. He won the French Open in 1998 and again last year.

Ferrero beat Kuerten in the Italian Open. The 21-year-old clay-court specialist from Spain reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year and was considered one of Kuerten's biggest rivals for the title this year.

However, a groin injury that flared in the final of the German Open last weekend has left Ferrero unsure whether he'll be able to play at Roland Garros.

Last year's runner-up in the French Open, Magnus Norman of Sweden, is seeded ninth. The only other seeded American is No. 15 Jan-Michael Gambill.


 
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Kuerten named ATP Player of the Year for 2000
Kuerten dominates Arazi for Monte Carlo title
Week at a Glance: Kuerten just fine, thank you
CNNSI.com's Phil Jones: Kuerten cheating himself
Ferrero outlasts Kuerten in five-set Rome final
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