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In a Tennis Open tournament $71$ persons have signed up for elimination rounds. All players are to be paired up for the first round, but because $71$ is an odd number one player gets a bye, which promotes him to the second round, without actually playing in the first round. The pairing continues on the next round, with a bye to any player left over. If the schedule is planned so that a minimum number of matches are required to determine the champion, the number of matches which must be played is

- $71$
- $70$
- $69$
- $36$