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Federer to headline Gstaad

Federer will be looking to end his Gstaad jinx

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer is set to be the top seed at next month's Allianz Suisse Open tournament in Gstaad.

Currently ranked eighth in the world, Federer appeared at the top of a provisional entry list published by the Gstaad organisers on Monday.

Three other top 20 players are scheduled to take part in the Bernese Oberland event with last year's losing finalist Juan Carlos Ferrero (ATP 11), title-holder Jiri Novak (ATP 15) and two-time Gstaad winner Alex Corretja (ATP 20) joining Federer on the list.

Corretja's compatriot and fellow two-time winner Albert Costa is one of four players ranked in the top 30 also due to appear.

Poor previous record

Subject to no major changes in the rankings, Federer will be honoured with the top seeding for the first time at a major home tournament. However the 20-year-old from Basel may not welcome the added pressure at an event where he is yet to impress.

Twelve months ago the Swiss ace was beaten in his very first match, losing 2-6, 1-6 to Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic to maintain a dismal record that has seen Federer crash out in the first round of Gstaad on each of his four attempts so far.

Although not renowned for the strength of his play on clay, Federer showed how much he has improved on his weakest surface last month when he clinched his first Masters Series title in Hamburg - a result which also earned the Swiss his first ever placing in the world's top ten.

Federer's subsequent first round defeat at the French Open to Moroccan outsider Hicham Arazi (also due to play in Gstaad) saw fresh questions raised about his ability on clay, although the Swiss number one attributed the early exit from Roland Garros to exhaustion following those Hamburg heroics.

Directly after Wimbledon

The scheduling of the Gstaad tournament is unlikely to make things any easier for Federer, however, with action on the ATP circuit about to switch to grass courts in the run-up to Wimbledon.

The $600,000 Swiss event comes directly after the English Grand Slam tournament and will mark Federer's first appearance on clay since the French Open.

If Federer were to suffer more disappointment in Gstaad, Swiss number two Michel Kratochvil could be the man to keep home interest strong. Last year the player from Bern made it all the way to the quarter-finals before falling to eventual winner Novak.

Kratochvil (ATP 49) is the only Swiss player apart from Federer to qualify automatically for the Gstaad tournament. Fellow Swiss Marc Rosset (ATP 114), Ivo Heuberger (ATP 116) and George Bastl (ATP 141) will all be hoping to get one of the three available wildcards.

Gstaad entry list:

1. Roger Federer (Sui, ATP 8), 2. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Esp, ATP 11), 3. Jiri Novak (Cze, ATP 15), 4. Alex Corretja (Esp, ATP 20), 5. Albert Costa (Esp, ATP 22), 6. Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg, ATP 23), 7. Nicolas Lapentti (Ecu, ATP 25), 8. Andrei Pavel (Rom, ATP 28), 9. David Nalbandian (Arg, ATP 32), 10. Gaston Gaudio (Arg, ATP 34), 11. Ivan Ljubicic (Cro, ATP 35), 12. Stefan Koubek (Aut, ATP 39), 13. Hicham Arazi (Mor, ATP 45), 14. Felix Mantilla (Esp, ATP 48), 15. Michel Kratochvil (Sui, ATP 49), 16. Fernando Meligeni (Br, ATP 55), 17. Alberto Martin (Esp, ATP 58), 18. Adrian Voinea (Rom, 59), 19. David Sanchez (Esp, ATP 64), 20. Mikhail Youzhny (Rus, ATP 66), 21. Attila Savolt (Hun, ATP 68), 22. Flavio Saretta (Br, ATP 72), 23. Karol Kucera (Svk, ATP 74), 24. Franco Squillari (Arg, ATP 75), 25. Francisco Clavet (Esp, ATP 77)

Field to be completed by three wildcards and four qualifiers.

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