Henman's tough draw opens with Vicente

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman is likely to meet Pete Sampras in the men's singles quarter-finals at the US Open if the British No 1 is able to advance beyond the fourth round - something he has not done on his previous five visits to Flushing Meadow.

Tim Henman is likely to meet Pete Sampras in the men's singles quarter-finals at the US Open if the British No 1 is able to advance beyond the fourth round - something he has not done on his previous five visits to Flushing Meadow.

Andre Agassi, the defending champion and No 1 seed at the event, which starts next Monday, is projected to renew his rivalry with Sampras - the fourth seed - in the semi-finals.

Henman, seeded No 11, plays Fernando Vicente, of Spain, in the first round. Vicente, 35th in the ATP Champions Race, defeated Henman in the third round of this year's French Open, their only previous match, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The clay courts in Paris suited Vicente better than Henman, who has shown encouraging form on American hard courts, reaching the final in Cincinnati after defeating Sampras in the third round, and advancing to the semi-finals in Indianapolis before he was beaten by the Russian, Marat Safin.

Richard Krajicek may be Henman's second round opponent, with Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the fifth seed, possibly waiting in round three.

Greg Rusedski, who has not played for six weeks, meets the 33-year-old Magnus Gustafsson in the first round, having defeated the Swede in their previous three matches. Rusedski, a US Open finalist in 1997, is in the same quarter of the draw as Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten, the second seed, and may have to face Cedric Pioline in the second round and either Todd Martin or Michael Chang in round three.

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