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Discussion Starter #1
I hadn't seen this posted yet; I guess Kim won't win, since Jon never picks the right people.

1. Serena Williams: Playing on her worst surface, the world No. 1 looked (and indeed was) unmistakably mortal in Charleston and Rome. Plus, the template for how to beat her -- junk it up and extract errors of frustration -- works best on clay. It's awfully hard to bet against the winner of four Slams running, but we'll do it anyway.

2. Kim Clijsters: Due (overdue?) to win her first Slam. If she keeps her head and convinces herself she really can beat Serena, this could be a gilded opportunity.

3. Venus Williams: The word is that she gave some thought to sitting this one out altogether. In addition to the strained stomach muscle, she seems to be rehabbing her spirit a bit. Might play herself into contention since her draw is mighty soft until a potential quarterfinal encounter with 2001 champ Jennifer Capriati.

4. Justine Henin-Hardenne: Has to be encouraged by her play in Charleston and Berlin. We're a bit concerned about her track record in Paris and in big matches in general, but it will be a mild shocker if she doesn't reach the semis.

5. Amélie Mauresmo: See: Henin-Hardenne. No question the talent is there. In the past month, she has beaten Venus (sort of), Capriati (as usual) and Serena (fair and square). But her status as one of the brighter and more self-aware players doesn't always work to her favor when matches tighten. She tends to get particularly, um, jittery with the high expectations she shoulders in Paris. (Her last two losses at Roland Garros have come to the redoubtable duo of Jana Kandarr and Paola Suarez. Yikes.) Quarterfinal match against Serena should be a good one.

6. Lindsay Davenport: Newlywed may live up to her seeding, but that's probably it. A better player on clay than she professes, but there's a nagging sense that she no longer truly believes she can beat the best. Don't be surprised if Iroda Tulyaganova takes a set off her in the deuxième round.

7. Jennifer Capriati: The Capster hasn't won a tournament in more than a year, but she always competes well and has won on clay before. A benevolent draw has her facing no top-30 foes until the fourth round.

8. Chanda Rubin: Has turned in some erratic results of late, but she can play on clay and she thumped her possible quarterfinal foe, Henin-Hardeene, on a hard court in Miami. Some dangerous players pock her draw, but Rubin is a player to watch.

9. Daniela Hantuchova: Slumping badly and won't right the ship until she makes the necessary physical adjustments. A shame because she should be a top-five player. On the plus side, her draw is softer than hutertite goose down.

10. Jelena Dokic: The sine curve that is her career currently is at a node. She usually tends to bring her alpha game to the biggies, but, boy, has she been in a rut this year.

11. Anastasia Myskina: Interesting first-round match against Dinara Safina. After that, her draw appears to open up a bit.

12. Monica Seles: The heart says she'll make a deep run in what may well be her final performance at Roland Garros. The head says the bum ankle makes it awfully unlikely she'll be around much beyond the middle weekend.

13. Elena Dementieva: How much confidence remains from her victory at Amelia Island? She put some coins in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately meter by winning her first career title, but we're not optimistic about her first-rounder against Maria Sanchez Lorenzo.

14. Eleni Daniilidou: Has turned into a moody player who looks like a top-five talent one day and an underachiever the next. Her heavy strokes will serve her well, but does she have the requisite patience for clay?

15. Magdalena Maleeva: Same old, same old. May live up to her seeding, but don't expect more.

16. Ai Sugiyama: Her opening match against Virginia Ruano Pascual is our Blue Plate Upset Special.


19. Patty Schnyder: A welter of family and personal issues serves as a distraction, but this temperamental Swiss lefty can always win some matches on talent alone.

22. Vera Zvonareva: Last year she was an unknown qualifier when she took a set off of Serena Williams. This year she might well be the hottest young player on tour.

23. Anna Pistolesi: Has yet to prove that she can challenge the top five, but her stamina and speed could serve her well on clay.

24. Conchita Martinez: Former finalist here is always dangerous on clay.

27. Alexandra Stevenson: Just kidding.

30. Paola Suarez: A quarterfinalist last year, Argentine swashbucklerette is dangerous against the right seed.

31. Laura Granville: Steadily, if quietly, climbing the ranks. Not on her best surface, but she competes well and is a fresh enough face that few opponents know her game.


Emilie Loit: Lefty junkball virtuosa could do damage against the right opponents, particularly with French fans in her corner.

Magui Serna: Irrepressible Spaniard quietly has turned in an awfully strong year, and she is playing on her best surface.

Virginia Ruano Pascal: Assuming she beats Sugiyama, her draw opens nicely.

Maria Sanchez Lorenzo: Just because.


Mary Pierce vs. Clarisa Fernandez: 2000 winner vs. 2002 semifinalist.

18. Meghann Shaughnessy vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Shaughnessy has cooled considerably since beating Venus in Miami. Kuznetsova is not simply Martina Navratilova's doubles partner; she can play some singles as well.

Myskina vs. Dinara Safina: Rushing the nyet.


Semifinals: Capriati vs. Clijsters, Serena Williams vs. Henin-Hardenne
Final: Clijsters vs. Williams
Champion: Clijsters
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