June 29, 2018 / 10:38 AM / 3 months ago

Tennis: Federer to start against Lajovic, Williams vs. Rus

LONDON (Reuters) - Defending champion Roger Federer will begin his quest for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title with a first round clash against Serbian world number 57 Dusan Lajovic.

The 36-year-old Swiss, seeded one, has been placed in the same half of the draw as in-form Croatian third seed Marin Cilic who he beat in last year’s final.

Seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams was handed a comfortable-looking first-round draw after being paired with 107th ranked Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus.

The 36-year-old, who has played only a handful of matches this year after giving birth last September, is seeded 25th after being bumped up from a current world ranking of 183.

Defending women’s champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain will play Briton Naomi Broady in the first round.

Men’s second seed Rafael Nadal, champion in 2008 and 2010, starts against Israel’s Dudi Sela while three-time champion Novak Djokovic faces American Tennys Sandgren.

British favourite Andy Murray, still a doubt for the tournament as he makes a comeback from nearly a year out with a hip injury, is unseeded and was drawn to play Benoit Paire.

The biggest match of the men’s first round will see sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov face three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka who like Murray is unseeded after an injury break.

Women’s top seed Simona Halep will play Japan’s Kurumi Nara in the first round.

Tennis - ATP - Halle Open Finals - Gerry Weber Stadion, Halle, Germany - June 24, 2018 Switzerland's Roger Federer in action during the final against Croatia's Borna Coric REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Louise Heavens

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