Tough for Sania, easy first round for Paes, Mahesh

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Beijing, Aug 7 (UNI) It is a mixed draw for the Indian tennis stars in the Olympics as Sania got a tough first round in the singles, while the seventh seeded pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes will face a lowly ranked French duo in their doubles opener here on August 10.

As per the draw, in the Women's Singles, 60th ranked Sania Mirza will face Iveta Benesova of Czech Republic in the first round.

The world number 56, Benesova had beaten Sania earlier this year in a tournament at Stockholm and in case the Indian manages to overpower Benesova, she is likely to face seventh seed and 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medal winner Venus Williams.

Venus takes on 61st ranked Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in her first round.

In the doubles, Sania will be partnering Sunitha Rao and will face the French pair of Tatiana Golovin and Pauline Parmentier in the first round.

And if the Indians make it to the next round, they are likely to clash with top seed Russian pair of Svetiana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina.

In the men's doubles, 'India Express' duo of Mahesh Bhupathi (doubles ranking 9) and Leander Paes (15th) will be pitted against France's Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.

The Indians are faniced to win the opener and in their second round they are likely to take on Czech Republic's Thomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.

Interestingly, Stepanek has played both Paes and Bhupathi as their doubles partner. He and Paes had even won a tournament at Delray Beach (US) in 2004.

In the Women's Singles, the Serbia's Ana Ivanovic has been seeded top followed by her compatriot Jelena Jankovic (2), Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova (3), Serena Williams of US (4) and Elena Dementieva of Russia (5).

In men's doubles, US' Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have got the top billing, followed by Serbian duo of Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimojnic.

Israeli pair of Jonthan Erlich and Andy Ram are seeded third, while Switzerland's Roger Federer and Tommy Robredo are fourth followed by Spain's Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer.

UNI HSB RAR CS1244

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