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Friday, January 15, 1999 Published at 09:24 GMT

Sport: Tennis

Henman drawn with home favourites

Petr Korda savours his 1998 victory

British number one Tim Henman has been put in arguably the toughest quarter of the draw for the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on Monday.

Tim Henman: "I feel very confident going into this match" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Sixth-seeded Henman's quarter is dominated by big-serving Australian hopes Patrick Rafter and Mark Philippoussis.

The dangerous Goran Ivanisevic and American Michael Chang could also block his hopes of a semi-final place.

But Henman will begin his challenge against lowly Moroccan Karim Alami, who he beat in the semi-final of the Qatar Open last week.

Rafter starts against Oliver Gross of Germany and could meet compatriot Philippoussis in the fourth round in what would be a replay of the 1998 US Open final.

Korda avoids seeds

Defending champion Petr Korda will play lowly Galo Blanco of Spain in the first round.

The unseeded Czech star, who escaped a ban after testing positive for steroids at Wimbledon last year, was drawn in the top half where top seed Marcelo Rios of Chile is the biggest threat.

Rios, the world No 2 who took the top seeding in the absence of battle-weary Pete Sampras, opens against Gianluca Pozzi of Italy. He has a possible quarter-final date with British eighth seed Greg Rusedski.

Rusedski drew Scott Draper of Australia in his opening match.

French 13th seed Cedric Pioline drew 17-year-old Australian sensation Lleyton Hewitt, who knocked Rafter out of the Sydney International on Tuesday after losing the Australian Hardcourt Championship final three days earlier.

Spanish test for Davenport

Women's top seed, American Lindsay Davenport, will open against Gala Leon Garcia of Spain and is drawn to meet American fifth seed Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

[ image: Lindsay Davenport: Spanish test for women's top seed]
Lindsay Davenport: Spanish test for women's top seed
Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, the third-seeded Czech, could play Swiss eighth seed Patty Schnyder in the last eight.

Second seed Martina Hingis of Switzerland drew American Lilia Osterloh in the first round and could play French seventh seed Mary Pierce in the quarter-finals.

Pierce starts against Australian wild card Cindy Watson.

Also in the bottom half are Monica Seles, who opens against a qualifier, and Germany's Steffi Graf, who starts against Argentina's Paolo Suarez.

Expected men's quarter-final line-up:

Marcelo Rios (1) v Greg Rusedski (8) Carlos Moya (4) v Andre Agassi (5) Tim Henman (6) v Patrick Rafter (3) Karol Kucera (7) v Alex Corretja (2)

Expected women's quarter-final line-up:

Lindsay Davenport (1) v Venus Williams (5) Jana Novotna (3) v Patty Schnyder (8) Monica Seles (6) v Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4) Mary Pierce (7) v Martina Hingis (2)

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In this section

British stars flop in rankings

Agassi caps comeback with French double

Henman hustled out of Paris

Rusedski down and out in Paris

Enqvist secures Stuttgart success

Henman crashes again