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Russian opposition for Bastl and Federer

Bastl faces another tough challenge in Stockholm Keystone

Swiss tennis players Roger Federer and George Bastl have both drawn Russian opponents in the first round of the ATP tournament in Stockholm. The competition will be the last of the year for the two Swiss men.

Seeded seventh in Stockholm, Federer faces 18-year-old Muscovite Mikhail Youzhny in what will be the two teenagers’ first match against each other.

Youzhny, who is ranked 110th in the world rankings, was recently beaten by Switzerland’s Marc Rosset in Moscow’s Kremlin Cup, and is not expected to fare any better against Federer.

The Basel player will need to put in some good performances this week if he’s to finish the year as Swiss number one. The latest world rankings, released on Monday, saw Federer dropping to 31st – three places behind Rosset.

George Bastl, who has slipped to 95th in the world, will have a tough time simply reaching the second round in Stockholm, after being drawn against former Australian and French Open winner Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

It will be the first time Bastl has played Kafelnikov, who is currently ranked fifth in the world.

The Swiss number three will need no reminder as to the strength of Russian tennis, though. Last week Bastl had the misfortune to be drawn against world number one Marat Safin in the second round of the Paris Masters Series.

After disposing of Bastl in straight sets, Safin went on to win the three million dollar event.

The Stockholm Open marks the penultimate round of the ATP Tour. The season comes to an end next week with the Masters Cup in Lisbon. None of the top Swiss players has qualified for the exclusive eight-man tournament.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR