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tennisIlove09
Apr 30th, 2004, 06:00 AM
Venus has that Paris in the springtime look

By Matthew Cronin
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http://www.********************/tr.net_photos_art/SUAREZ_rc_fcc_04.jpgRon Cioffi/tr.net
Suarez moves from doubles specialist extraordinaire to singles winner in Fed Cup.


1. Venus Williams: Bags Family Circle Cup title and then thumps Srebotnik and Pisnik in Slovenia. Her heady game has evolved to the point where she can be called the early Roland Garros favorite. The US team badly needs her all year long.

2. Kim Clijsters: Bum wrist and all, Kimmy sears the Croats in her hometown of Bree. A very gutsy performance overall.

3. Amelie Mauresmo: Destroys the German team nearly all by her lonesome. If Nathalie Dechy continues to improve, defending champ France will be tough to knock off.

4. Conchita Martinez: The vet scores a hat trick in Spain's win over Switzerland. With a good draw, the RG semis are not out of the question.

5. Paola Suarez: Notches two wins over Japan including the clincher over her tearful friend, the cramping Ai Sugiyama. Argentine will give Russia hell in the quarters.

6. Francesca Schiavone: Veteran notches two victories in Italy's win over the Czechs by romping over the talented Barbara Strycova in the last two sets of their three-setter and then closing out Klara Koukalova in three in the the clincher. But she'll need to play a while lot better against France.

7. Barbara Schett: It's been a while since Blonde Barbie scored two big wins and she did so in Austria's victory over the Hantuchova-less Slovak team. She and Babs Schwartz will be very difficult for the Americans to take down on dirt in Austria.

8. Vera Zvonareva: After a desultory performance in last year's semis, Vera Z. punches out Sam Stosur to clinch Russia's win over Australia. But will she get the call again?

9. Els Callens: A victory of a lifetime for the now-doubles specialist as she overcomes Jelena Kostanic 6-4 in the third to clinch Belgium's win. But Belgium will likely need Henin-Hardenne in her spot if they are to take down Spain.

10: Lisa Raymond: A loss to Srebotnik when she had a chance to clinch for the US would have taken a decade to get over, so Raymond stepped up and closed like a champ to grab the victory. Who knows if she'll ever get a shot to play Fed Cup singles on clay again.