Clijsters leads Belgian charge

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The Independent Online

Kim Clijsters, who is the world No 1 but is seeking her first Grand Slam title, was seeded No 1 yesterday for the United States Open.

Clijsters and the French Open champion, Justine Henin-Hardenne, make Belgium the first country other than the United States to have women seeded Nos 1 and 2 at the Open. It is also the first time since 1994 that an American woman was not seeded in the top two.

The 1998 Open champion, Lindsay Davenport, is No. 3, followed by the 2000-01 champion Venus Williams, Amélie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati.

Andre Agassi, the men's top seed, counts the 1994 and 1999 Opens among his eight major titles. The Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer, is seeded second, with the French Open champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero, third and Andy Roddick fourth.

Neither defending champion is entered for the first time since 1971 (Margaret Smith Court, Ken Rosewall). Pete Sampras has not played at all since beating Agassi in last year's final, while Williams' younger sister, Serena, is out after surgery on her left knee.