- Associated Press - Saturday, May 26, 2012

PARIS (AP) - Women to watch at the French Open, where play begins Sunday:

VICTORIA AZARENKA

Ranked: 1

Age: 22

Country: Belarus

2012 Match Record: 35-3

2012 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 12

Major Titles: 1 _ Australian Open (‘12)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-Lost in Quarterfinals, `10-1st Round, `09-QF, `08-4th, `07-1st

Topspin: First time she is seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament. … Took over the top spot in the WTA rankings after winning her first major title in Australia. … Was the fourth consecutive first-time women’s Grand Slam champion. … Her 26-match winning streak was the longest at the start of a season since 1997.

MARIA SHARAPOVA

Ranked: 2

Age: 25

Country: Russia

2012 Match Record: 29-5

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 26

Major Titles: 3 _ Wimbledon (‘04), U.S. Open (‘06), Australian Open (‘08)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-SF, `10-3rd, `09-QF, `08-4th, `07-SF

Topspin: Coming off clay-court title at Italian Open for second year in a row. The bad news: No women’s champion in Rome has gone on to win that year’s French Open since 2002, when Serena Williams did it. … French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament Sharapova hasn’t won _ or even reached the final. … Once likened her problems moving on red clay to a “cow on ice,” but now seems more comfortable on the surface.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA

Ranked: 3

Age: 23

Country: Poland

2012 Match Record: 35-7

2012 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 10

Major Titles: 0 _ Best: QF, five times, most recently at Australian Open (‘12)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-4th, `10-2nd, `09-4th, `08-2nd, `07-1st

Topspin: Six of her seven losses this season were to Azarenka. … Won title on clay at Brussels on Saturday. … Reached at least the quarterfinals at nine of 10 tournaments in 2012. … Although never before past the fourth round at Roland Garros, could be the next player to make a breakthrough with her first Grand Slam title.

PETRA KVITOVA

Ranked: 4

Age: 22

Country: Czech Republic

2012 Match Record: 17-7

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 1 _ Wimbledon (‘11)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-4th, `10-1st, `09-Did Not Play, `08-4th, `07-DNP

Topspin: Tall left-hander’s best Grand Slam results have come on grass at Wimbledon, where she reached semifinals in 2010, then won the championship last year. … Only player ranked in top 10 who hasn’t reached a final this year.

SERENA WILLIAMS

Ranked: 5

Age: 30

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 27-2

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 41

Major Titles: 13 _ Wimbledon (‘02, `03, `09, `10), U.S. Open (‘99, `02, `08), Australian Open (‘03, `05, `07, `09, `10), French Open (‘02)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-DNP, `10-QF, `09-QF, `08-3rd, `07-QF

Topspin: 17-0 on clay this season with two titles; withdrew from Italian Open with a back injury before her semifinal match (that doesn’t count as a loss). … Shortly after winning Wimbledon in 2010, cut her foot on glass, leading to a series of health issues, including clots in her lungs; returned to the tour in June 2011. .. She’s 46-0 in first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments. … Drawn to face Sharapova in quarterfinals.

LI NA

Ranked: 7

Age: 30

Country: China

2012 Match Record: 21-8

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 5

Major Titles: 1 _ French Open (‘11)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-W, `10-3rd, `09-4th, `08-DNP, `07-3rd

Topspin: At last year’s French Open, became the first tennis player from China to win a Grand Slam singles championship. … She also reached the Australian Open final in January 2011. … Reached final on clay in Rome before losing rain-soaked final to Sharapova.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI

Ranked: 9

Age: 21

Country: Denmark

2012 Match Record: 20-10

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 18

Major Titles: 0 _ Best: F, at U.S. Open in `09

Last 5 French Opens: `11-3rd, `10-QF, `09-3rd, `08-3rd, `07-1st

Topspin: After a half-dozen titles each of the past two seasons, still seeking her first of 2012. Only reached one final so far. … Still looking for her first Grand Slam title.

VENUS WILLIAMS

Ranked: 52nd

Age: 31

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 11-4

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 43

Major Titles: 7 _ Wimbledon (‘00, `01, `05, `07, `08), U.S. Open (‘00, `01)

Last 5 French Opens: `11-DNP, `10-4th, `09-3rd, `08-3rd, `07-3rd

Topspin: Returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since Aug. 29 at the U.S. Open; two days later, she pulled out of her second-round match at that tournament, revealing that she’d been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. … Missed last year’s French Open; before that, she’d entered every year since her debut in 1997. … Has played more Grand Slam matches (210-46) and French Open matches (40-14) than any active woman.

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