PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) - Following is a brief rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of the top 16 seeds in the French Open women's singles draw. Prefix denotes seeding:
1-Jennifer Capriati (U.S.). Always a fierce competitor, the defending champion has been consistent throughout the claycourt season with three semifinal appearances. She can knock most opponents off on her day and is a good bet to retain title.
2-Venus Williams (U.S.). Doubts remain about the American's fitness after she suffered a freak wrist sprain last week but she will be keen to avoid a repeat of her first round exit last year. Having already bagged a claycourt title this year, a fully fit Williams is likely to destroy opponents with her powerful groundstrokes.
3-Serena Williams (U.S.). The athletic American has been in tremendous form in the run-up to the French, reaching two finals in the last two weeks. After claiming her first claycourt title at the Italian Open on Sunday, she is one of the favourites to lift the Roland Garros crown.
4-Kim Clijsters (Belgium). Runner-up last year, she will be attempting to go one better this time round. A gritty baseliner, her Hamburg final victory over Venus Williams proved she has the tools to go all the way. A sore shoulder, however, could lead to an early downfall.
5-Justine Henin (Belgium). She can outwit most opponents with her lethal one-handed back hand shot and, along with Serena Williams, Henin is the in-form player in the run-up to the French. Triumphed at the German Open and was runner-up to Serena in Rome. Has all the weapons to succeed on clay.
6-Monica Seles (U.S). Three times champion but never the same force after she was stabbed in Hamburg in 1993. Now aged 28, she will find it difficult to last the distance.
7-Jelena Dokic (Yugoslavia). Dokic has put in the hours on court to make a serious bid to win her first grand slam title. Winner at Sarasota, she has the temperament to go all the way.
8-Sandrine Testud (France). Has never fulfilled her potential at Roland Garros and has been in indifferent form all season. Will be lucky to survive the first week.
9-Silvia Farina Elia (Italy). The 30-year-old achieved her best grand slam result by reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. Not expected to improve on that showing.
10-Amelie Mauresmo (France). The baseliner lost in the first round last year to the dismay of the home fans. Although Mauresmo grew up on clay, she has only once made it past the second round in seven attempts.
11-Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia). The promising 19-year-old has been making inroads all year and claimed her first title with a shock victory over Martina Hingis at Indian Wells. Consistently reaching the quarter-finals on clay, could be the surprise package of the tournament.
12-Meghann Shaughnessy (U.S). Having reached the fourth round last year, she has not achieved any result of note in her French Open build-up. Likely to be an early casualty.
13-Elena Dementieva (Russia). The 20-year-old has failed to live up to potential following her semifinal appearance at the 2000 U.S. Open. Not expected to make waves this year having failed to play impressively on clay so far.
14-Iroda Tulyaganova (Uzbekistan) - Tulyaganova lost in the first round on her Roland Garros debut last year but has steadily climbed up the rankings. However, she could be an early casualty because of her lack of big-match experience.
15-Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (Spain). Three times former champion, she says she still enjoys being on the tour despite turning 30 last year. But her game is on the decline and she is unlikely to be able to keep pace with the young pretenders.
16-Barbara Schett (Austria). Dumped the mighty Venus Williams out of the 2001 French Open in the first round. Having reached the fourth round in the last two years, her two-handed backhand shot could see her through to the second week.
05/21/02 16:29 ET
I will make my own breakdown after I see the draw!