Roland Garros seeds guide
May 24, 2006 / Paris
With the French Open just four days away, we take a look at the credentials of all 32 women’s seeds. Please note that this is an unofficial list: several players may pull-out before the draw ceremony on Friday. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are entirely independent of Ana
1. Amelie Mauresmo
The world No.1 has never been past the quarter-finals at her home grand slam. The Frenchwoman began the year superbly, losing only to Ana in her first 17 matches, but has since gone off the boil: she has lost five of her last six matches against opponents ranked in the top 15. Her preparations were hit by a cold and fever that forced her to withdraw from Rome.
2. Kim Clijsters
The Belgian is a two-time finalist but has so far failed to reproduce her stunning form of 2005, when she won nine titles. She triumphed in Warsaw, her first title of the year, but looked out of sorts on her last outing in Rome last week.
3. Nadia Petrova
The revelation of the season, the Russian has won four tournaments already, which is staggering considering that up until last October the 23-year-old didn’t have a single title to her name. She has reached the semi-finals here in two of the last three years and knocked out Ana in the quarter-finals 12 months ago.
4. Maria Sharapova
Sharapova has played just five tournaments this year due to a series of injuries. She has not competed since the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami, which ended on 1 April and withdrew from this week’s Istanbul Cup with a right ankle injury. She has lost at the quarter-final stage here in the last two years.
5. Justine Henin-Hardenne
The favourite with all the bookmakers and defending champion, Henin-Hardenne also won this competition in 2003. At her best she is arguably the finest clay courter in the world, but she has suffered disappointing three-set defeats in her last two tournaments: against Patty Schnyder in Charleston and to Nadia Petrova in Berlin.
6. Mary Pierce
The Frenchwoman’s appearance here must be in some doubt. She hasn’t played since the indoor event in Paris over three months ago, having suffered a foot injury. Pierce won this title in 2000 and was a finalist last year. Were she to pull out, world No.34 Gisela Dulko would be next in line to receive a seeding.
7. Elena Dementieva
Dementieva was a finalist here in 2004 but has been frustratingly inconsistent this season. She won her first Tier I title in Tokyo but has been thrashed by the likes of Dinara Safina and Tatiana Golovin at other big events.
8. Patty Schnyder
The highlight of the Swiss’ year so far is a runner-up finish in Charleston. Her best finish at Roland Garros is a quarter-final appearance in 1998. Last year the 27-year-old complained that the French crowd did not appreciate her fine play against Mary Pierce in the fourth round, a match that Schnyder lost 6-4 in the third.
9. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Kuznetsova has come back to life this year, after a hugely disappointing 2005 season that saw her exit the top 10. She hit top form in Miami, where she won the title, and has reached a final, two semi-finals and two quarter-finals since. She had match points against eventual champion Henin-Hardenne in the fourth round last year, which is her best ever result here.
10. Francesca Schiavone
The Italian reached her highest ever ranking of 11 this year on the back of consistent results. She has also defeated the likes of Amelie Mauresmo, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova this season. Schiavone was a quarter-finalist here in 2001 and has reached the fourth round in the last two season.
11. Anastasia Myskina
Last year the Russian became the first ever Roland Garros female champion to lose in the first round. She was troubled by personal problems at the time but has since regained her form, though she is yet to beat an elite player this year.
12. Venus Williams
The American returned to action in Warsaw three weeks ago, having not played since the Australian Open in January, due to injury. She beat Martina Hingis on her way to the quarter-finals but was felled by the Swiss in Rome two weeks later. Williams was a finalist here in 2002.
13. Martina Hingis
The story of the year on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour so far has been the remarkable comeback of the Swiss 25-year-old. Hingis crowned her return to the top by winning in Rome last week. This is the only grand slam title she has not won: the closest she has come is finishing as runner-up in 1997 and 1999.
14. Anna-Lena Groenefeld
Groenefeld has won three matches in her two visits to Roland Garros to date. She reached her highest ever ranking this year (No.14) and triumphed on the clay of Acapulco in March.
15. Dinara Safina
Last week the Russian reached the Rome final and was catapulted to No.16 in the rankings, her highest ever position. She hasn’t had much joy at Roland Garros so far: the 19-year-old has lost three of her four matches here.
16. Daniela Hantuchova
The Slovakian has been unable to build on her win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year. In fact, she has not won back-to-back matches in tournament play since then. Her best showing here is a fourth round appearance in 2002.
17. Nicole Vaidisova
The 17-year-old Czech is making only her second appearance at Roland Garros. She lost in the second round last year. Her season has been disrupted somewhat by injury, since she reached the Australian Open fourth round and the quarter-finals of Tokyo.
18. Flavia Pennetta
Another player to achieve her highest ever ranking this year, the Italian peaked at No.16 in January, shortly after reaching the final of the Gold Coast tournament. She has reached another two finals since, both of clay, and has a 4-3 win-loss record in three visits to Roland Garros.
19. Elena Likhovtseva
The 30-year-old was a surprise semi-finalist last year but since that success she has reached just two quarter-finals.
20. ANA IVANOVIC
21. Maria Kirilenko
Kirilenko’s ranking peaked at 22 in March this year. She has reached three quarter-finals during 2006 and has beaten both Ana and Nadia Petrova. She is yet to go beyond the second round in two appearances here.
22. Nathalie Dechy
The Frenchwoman arrives in Paris on the back of five straight defeats. She has reached the third round of her home grand slam no fewer than six times.
23. Ai Sugiyama
The Japanese No.1 was a semi-finalist in Doha, where she beat Anastasia Myskina, but has only played two matches on clay this year and lost them both. She has a 14-11 win-loss record here and has reached the fourth round on three occasions.
24. Tatiana Golovin
Another player who may not make the starting line, Golovin injured her ankle in Miami two months ago and has not played since. In three appearances here her best result is reaching the third round last year.
25. Katarina Srebotnik
The Slovenian has won more matches here (nine) than at any other grand slam and reached the fourth round in 2002. She is currently enjoying her highest ever ranking of 26, though she is yet to reach a quarter-final this year.
26. Marion Bartoli
Yet another player whose ranking has peaked this year, the Frenchwoman triumphed in Auckland in the very first week of the season, beating top seed Nadia Petrova in the process. However, on clay she has won just two of her five matches this season and has only ever scored one victory in five visits to Roland Garros.
27. Anabel Medina Garrigues
The Spaniard reached the third round here last year, her best result in three trips to Roland Garros. She won Canberra in January and has won nine of her 14 matches on clay this year.
28. Anna Chakvetadze
Chakvetadze’s highest achievement so far this season was reaching the semi-finals in Warsaw, where she beat Ana. She was forced to retire during her first round match in Rome a fortnight ago with a right thigh strain, but she was able to get through a three-set match in Istanbul yesterday. This will be the Russian’s second appearance at Roland Garros: she reached the third round last year.
29. Lucie Safarova
The Czech reached the semi-finals of the Amelia Island clay court event in April, by far her best result of the year. She won her first ever title on the crushed brick of Estoril last year, so is comfortable on the surface at Roland Garros, but she is still waiting for her first grand slam match win, having lost in the first round of all four in which she has competed.
30. Sofia Arvidsson
In her only visit to Roland Garros to date, the Swede lost in the second round last year. She won her first ever title on the hard court of Memphis in February, but she has lost all but two of her eight matches on clay this year.
31. Klara Koukalova
The Czech 24-year-old has reached four clay court finals during her career but has never been past the second round of Roland Garros in three attempts. She has not reached the last eight of any tournament this year.
32. Shahar Peer
19-year-old Peer is enjoying her best ever run of form. The Israeli, who reached the third round in her debut appearance here last year, won the Prague clay court tournament a fortnight ago, and captured her first ever title in Pattaya City, Thailand, in February. She also led Israel to the Fed Cup World Group play-offs by winning all nine of her singles and doubles rubbers.
By Gavin Versi