Tennis: Sampras handed tough US Open draw

The men's US Open draw includes three former champions in the same quarter.

The men's US Open draw includes three former champions in the same quarter.

They are Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Patrick Rafter.

In the same quarter is Roger Federer, who beat Sampras at Wimbledon.

The survivor of that quarter could face defending champion Marat Safin, seeded third, in the semi-finals.

A first-time US Open finalist is likely to emerge from the other half of the draw.

Contenders include top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and emerging American star Andy Roddick, who is seeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at No 18.

Sampras, struggling through his worst year since winning the first of his four US Open titles in 1990, faces a dangerous opening opponent in Julien Boutter.

The left-handed Frenchman has a big serve that could give Sampras trouble.

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