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French Open women's seed report
Henin could add a fourth title, but hot Jankovic in way


SI.com's senior writer Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the French Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/25/french.womens/index.html

Top 16 seeds
1. Justine Henin: Two-time defending champ usually saves her best stuff for the Slams. Has the good fortune of playing at a time when the rest of the field is banged up, bored or missing entirely. We eagerly await the quarterfinal ("Let? What let?") match versus Serena Williams. Then Jelena Jankovic awaits in the de facto final.

2. Maria Sharapova: Second seed in name only. Nobody's clay-court specialist, Sharapova hobbles in with questionable confidence. Will be lucky to beat crafty lefty Emilie Loit in her first match.

3. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Regarded as the best clay-courter of the Russians, Sveta is always a contender -- and she was a finalist in 2006. Still, she seems to lack ballast when the match is on the line.

4. Jelena Jankovic: We're playing bandwagon-hoppers here and putting our euros on the streaking Serb. She's playing well and no one else is. Absurdly overloaded schedule is a concern, but at least she comes with plenty of match play. Provided she can keep her head together in a likely semi against Henin, Jankovic could hold the trophy on June 9.

5. Amelie Mauresmo: Comes into Paris -- an event that has always given her trouble -- with very little confidence or match play. With tennis being tennis and Mauresmo being Mauresmo, that means she's poised for a deep run. Very benevolent draw, plus she's in Sharapova's quarter. Probably not a threat to win, but we could see her in the semis.

6. Nicole Vaidisova: Czech seems to have stagnated. Plenty of power but an unimaginative game that leaves little room for a Plan B. Made a run to Roland Garros semis last year, so perhaps she can recapture the magic

7. Ana Ivanovic: Has taken on the role as second Serb behind Jankovic. Strong play in Berlin should fire her with some confidence. An all-Serb final is hardly out of the question.

8. Serena Williams: Doubt her at your own peril, but the loss in Rome, coupled with the surface, doesn't bode well. She also has the ill-fortune of landing on Henin's quadrant. Say this: We'll pay scalpers' prices for those billets.

9. Anna Chakvetadze: A fun player to watch. She's coming off a successful Slam in Australia. Her draw is relatively tame. But can she step up in a big match?

10. Dinara Safina: No longer simply Marat's little sister, but still needs to establish herself at a Major. Big ball-striker and improved mover, but she's in the Serena-Henin quadrant and unlikely to outlive her seeding.

11. Nadia Petrova: Her slide since reaching No. 3 a year ago has affected an already fragile self-belief. Has the elemental game and athleticism to be a force. And she has done well in Paris in the past. But with her game in the breakdown lane, it's hard to see her beating red-hot Jankovic.

12. Daniela Hantuchova: This we know about Hantuchova: She will play at least one match that will end deep in the third set. She will wilt on clay against a higher-seeded opponent.

13. Elena Dementieva: Former finalist has a track record in Paris but the vectors are really headed in the wrong direction here.

14. Patty Schnyder: Swiss Miss-tery is a terminal underachiever in Slams, now on the downside of a mercurial (though entertaining ) career. She did, however, recently outlast Serena -- in a third-set tiebreaker, no less -- and clay suits her loopy, lefty game. Particularly in the Sharapova quadrant, she could make her mark on this tournament.

15. Shahar Peer: Coming off a fine performance in Australia, the Israeli is destined for the top 10. Unlikely to face much opposition until Week Two. Then it becomes a question of whether she can win the big match.

16. Li Na: Nice player, but not on clay. Might win a few early rounds against mostly qualifiers and wild cards, but she's not a threat.

17. Marion Bartoli: Frenchwoman is always an enigma, but her draw is wide open.

19. Tathiana Garbin: Athletic veteran, playing well of late, has a real shot at the quarters.

22. Alona Bondarenko: One of the better players still flying under the radar.

25. Lucie Safarova: Clay isn't her ideal surface, but there's a lot of game here. And she's a lefty.

26. Venus Williams: Comes in with little momentum -- not much of a clay-court track record. Thanks in part to a kind draw, she should survive 'til the middle weekend. Then she runs into Jankovic.

29. Gisela Dulko: A first-team head case, but she won a clay-court title this year and will eventually play to her potential.

Dark-horse nation
Kateryna Bondarenko: Second of Ukraine's answer to the Maleeva sisters.

Elena Likhovtseva: On the downside of her career but still dangerous.

Maria Kirilenko: A talented player who's yet to pan out.

First-round matches to watch
Severine Bremond vs. Michaella Krajicek: Two players with top-20 talent meet early.

Bartoli vs. Aravene Rezai: The keep-an-eye-on-pops match.

Jelena Kostanic vs. Hantuchova: Steady veteran could be tough test for Hantuchova.

Loit vs. Sharapova: Our upset special pick. You could have hardly hand-picked a worse first-round opponent for Sharapova.

Doubles winners
Defending champs Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur

Semis
Henin vs. Jankovic

Kuznetsova vs. Schnyder

Final
Jankovic vs. Kuznetsova

Winner
Jankovic
 

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Picking Schnyder is not bandwagonning and the three other choices are legitimate contenders. Who do you expect him to pick for the semis? Dillingham vs. Whitehead and Loeffler Caro vs. Baker? Give the guy some respect! He puts tennis on the map at CNN and the american media. Otherwise no one would pay attention in the states and tennis needs all the help it can get at the moment.
 

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Lena L and Makiri as dark horses? :lol: I think they could have come up with better picks, although Makiri is a threat if she can pull herself together.
 

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Completely skipped Sugi, who I think has more of a chance that Likhovtseva, lol. Makiri, too, probably.

And I love how they just dismiss all the doubles field and say Raymond/Stosur :tape: Hopefull Ai/Kata or Jie/Zi :)
 
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