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Tennis: Ferrer takes Portugal top seeding in place of Del Potro

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

David Ferrer has been drafted in as a late replacement for ailing Juan Martin del Potro just in time to save face for the Portugal Open as the event begins on Monday.

The re-branded ATP 250 tournament, formerly the Estoril Open, got the bad news from Del Potro's agent that the Argentine was dealing with a stomach virus and would not be able to play the tournament which he won a year ago over Richard Gasquet.

Ferrer, fourth in the world, will be happy for extra time on court as top seed after losing in his opening match at the Barcelona Open to Russian Dimitry Tursunov.

The leading four seeds have byes into the second round.

Spain's Ferrer last played in Portugal in 2009 and brings a 1-3 record at the event. He was beaten in 2002 here by Marat Safin and a year later by Fernando Gonzalez. He earned his only win at the venue four years ago over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Stanislas Wawrinka takes the second seeding as the Swiss returns for a second straight years after losing a 2012 semi-final to Del Potro.

Wawrinka began his pre-French Open campaign in Monte Carlo where he crushed Andy Murray in the third round before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Italian pair of Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini take the third and fourth seedings respectively, while Julie Bennett of France stands fifth ahead of compatriot Benito Paire, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona second round.

In the women's draw, former top 10 player Marion Bartoli heads the field, with an opening match against China's Peng Shuai.

Seeded second behind the Frenchwoman is Dominika Cibulkova, with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on third, Carla Suarez Navarro fourth and Sorona Cristea fifth.

Three-time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, who lost a qualifying match here 11 years ago, has taken a wild card and faces a first-round match against a qualifier.

Seeds:

Men

David Ferrer (ESP x1)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x2)

Andreas Seppi (ITA x3)

Fabio Fognini (ITA x4)

Julien Benneteau (FRA x5)

Benoit Paire (FRA x6)

Horacio Zeballos (ARG x7)

Tommy Robredo (ESP x8)

Women

Marion Bartoli (FRA x1)

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x2)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x3)

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x4)

Sorona Cirstea (ROM x5)

Vavara Lepchenko (USA x6)

Elena Vesnina (RUS x7)

Julia Goerges (GER x8)

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130427/tennis-ferrer-takes-portugal-top-seeding-place-del-potro