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Holder Nadal faces American Russell in Wimbledon opener

Rafael Nadal must face Michael Russell in the first round as he attempts to retain his Wimbledon men's singles trophy.
Rafael Nadal must face Michael Russell in the first round as he attempts to retain his Wimbledon men's singles trophy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal begins the defense of his Wimbledon title against Michael Russell
  • John Isner and Nicolas Mahut face each other in a repeat of last year's marathon
  • Serena and Venus Williams are drawn apart in the women's singles section
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(CNN) -- Defending champion Rafael Nadal must take on American Michael Russell in his opening match at Wimbledon next week, after the draw was revealed on Friday.

Top seed Nadal has been drawn in the same half as fourth seed Andy Murray, who he is expected to meet in the semifinals.

British number one Murray takes on another Spaniard, world number 56 Daniel Gimeno-Traver, in his first round match.

Murray unlikely to win Wimbledon despite recent success

Second seed Novak Djokovic faces Jeremy Chardy of France in his opener while third seed and six-time champion Roger Federer must play Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

However, the most intriguing match of the opening round sees American John Isner face Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in a repeat of last year's epic duel between the pair.

In 2010, the pair stood toe-to-toe in match that lasted a remarkable 11 hours, the longest in tennis history, with Isner winning 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68.

Recently, Isner told reporters: "That match will never be equalled, it won't happen again, not even coming close."

Meanwhile, in the women's section, the possibility of a fifth all-Williams final remains alive after Serena and Venus were kept apart in the draw.

Seventh seed Serena has been handed a potentially tricky tie against Aravane Rezai of France, while 23rd seed Venus faces Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will open her tournament against Aranxta Parra Satonja of Spain, while second seed Vera Zvonareva faces American Alison Riske.

In Friday's action, heavy rain put paid to both the men's and women's semifinals in the Eastbourne tournament in England.

However, play was possible at the semifinal final stage of the grasscourt event in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

Both men's last four matches saw surprise results. Unseeded Russian Dmitry Tursunov saw off Belgian third seed Xavier Malisse 6-3 7-6 and will face fourth seed Ivan Dodig -- who beat second seed Marcos Baghdatis 7-6 6-1 -- in the final.

Meanwhile, the women's final will be between Italian seventh seed Roberta Vinci, who beat Slovakian fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 6-1, and Australian Jelena Dokic, whose Italian opponent Romina Oprandi retired injured while trailing in the other semifinal.