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INDIAN WELLS NOTES

Nalbandian, Ivanisevic Lost to Injuries

March 10, 2004|Lauren Peterson | Times Staff Writer

The rash of injuries on the women's draw of the Pacific Life Open appears to be spreading to the men's side.

The men's bracket, which would have included every player in the top 10 in the ATP entry-system rankings, lost eighth-ranked David Nalbandian of Argentina and 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic to injury, tournament officials announced Tuesday after the release of the men's draw at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, withdrew because of an ankle injury sustained in Davis Cup play. He will be replaced by rising young American Brian Vahaly.

Ivanisevic, who would have played Todd Martin in an intriguing first-round match, dropped out because of a back injury.

He has been replaced by Anthony Dupuis of France.

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In other draw-related news, 2003 Wimbledon champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, the top-ranked player in the world, was awarded the top seeding in the men's tournament, which has been expanded this year to include 96 players, up from last year's draw of 64.

Juan Carlos Ferrero, last year's French Open champion, is seeded second, followed by third-seeded Andy Roddick, the reigning U.S. Open champion, and fourth-seeded Guillermo Coria, a French Open semifinalist. Two-time defending tournament champion Lleyton Hewitt, trying to become the first player to win the event three times in a row, is seeded eighth, behind fifth-seeded Andre Agassi, No. 6-seeded Rainer Schuettler and No. 7 Carlos Moya.

Roddick and wild-card entrant Marat Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, will face off in the third round if both win their second-round matches following first-round byes.

The two played a dramatic, five-set match won by the Russian in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January.

Safin is one of several notable wild-card entrants. Others include two-time Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Haas of Germany, two-time French Open runner-up Alex Corretja of Spain and 1999 Australian Open runner-up Thomas Enqvist.

Men's qualifying matches begin today, with main-draw play starting Friday.

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Marissa Irvin, who attended North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake High, advanced into the main draw with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over former California player Christina Fusano in the second round of qualifying competition Tuesday.

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