- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014

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


Seeded: 1

Age: 32

Country: United States

2014 Match Record: 23-3

2014 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 60

Major Titles: 17 - French Open (‘02, ‘13), Wimbledon (‘02, ‘03, ‘09, ‘10, ‘12), U.S. Open (‘99, ‘02, ‘08, ‘12, ‘13), Australian Open (‘03, ‘05, ‘07, ‘09, ‘10)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-Won Championship, ‘12-Lost in 1st Round, ‘11-Did Not Play, ‘10-QF, ‘09-QF

Topspin: Who would have thought Williams could become a powerhouse on clay, a slower surface that dulls the speed of her serves and powerful groundstrokes? Since the start of the 2012 clay-court season, though, she is 53-2 on the surface. … Williams‘ 11 WTA clay titles are the most among active players. … Is one Grand Slam title from matching Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with 18, the fourth-highest total behind Margaret Smith Court’s record of 24. … Leads tour this season in most significant serving categories, including aces, percentage of service games won, percentage of break point saved. … Fifth consecutive major tournament seeded No. 1, the longest such streak of her career.


Seeded: 2

Age: 32

Country: China

2014 Match Record: 26-5

2014 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 9

Major Titles: 2 - French Open (‘11), Australian Open (‘14)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-2nd, ‘12-4th, ‘11-W, ‘10-3rd, ‘09-4th

Topspin: Broke through for her second Grand Slam title in January by winning the Australian Open, where she had been the runner-up in 2011 and 2013. … At 2011 French Open, became the first tennis player from China to win a Grand Slam singles championship. … Winning 73.4 percent of her service games in 2014, fourth-best on tour. … Lost in quarterfinals in clay tuneup tournaments at Madrid and Rome. … Starts off against 21-year-old Kristina Mladenovic of France.


Seeded: 4

Age: 22

Country: Romania

2014 Match Record: 19-7

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 0 - Best: QF, at Australian Open (‘14)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-1st, ‘12-1st, ‘11-2nd, ‘10-1st, ‘09-DNP

Topspin: After finishing 2012 at 47th in the WTA rankings, then closing 2013 at a career-best 11th, enjoying a surge this year. … All seven of her career titles on tour have come in the past 12 months. … Had never been past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament until getting to the fourth round at the U.S. Open last September, before a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January. … Won the 2008 French Open junior title.


Seeded: 7

Age: 27

Country: Russia

2014 Match Record: 24-6

2014 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 31

Major Titles: 4 - French Open (‘12), Wimbledon (‘04), U.S. Open (‘06), Australian Open (‘08)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-F, ‘12-W, ‘11-SF, ‘10-3rd, ‘09-QF

Topspin: Is 46-4 on clay since 2012, including that year’s title at the French Open and last year’s runner-up finish to Williams. Three of those four losses came against Williams; the other was against Ana Ivanovic at Rome this month. … Drawn into a potentially tough quarterfinal against Williams, who first could have to face her older sister Venus in the third round. … Won clay titles at Madrid and Stuttgart this season, including six victories over players ranked in the top 10. … Her 2012 title in Paris completed a career Grand Slam and was her first major championship since right shoulder surgery in 2010.


Seeded: 9

Age: 25

Country: Slovakia

2014 Match Record: 24-11

2014 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 4

Major Titles: 0 - Best: F, Australian Open (‘14)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-2nd, ‘12-QF, ‘11-1st, ‘10-3rd, ‘09-SF

Topspin: The 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) Cibulkova made a Grand Slam breakthrough with her run to the final at this year’s Australian Open, beating Agnieszka Radwanska, Sharapova and Halep along the way. … After a strong hard-court season, struggled at clay-court tuneups in Madrid and Rome, with a pair of straight-set opening losses. … Ranks fourth on tour in 2014 by winning 48.3 percent of her return games.


Seeded: 11

Age: 26

Country: Serbia

2014 Match Record: 30-8

2014 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 13

Major Titles: 1 - French Open (‘08)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-4th, ‘12-3rd, ‘11-1st, ‘10-2nd, ‘09-4th

Topspin: One of seven women who have divided the past seven French Open championships. The last repeat winner was Justine Henin, who won three titles in a row at Roland Garros from 2005-07. … Ivanovic was the runner-up in Paris in 2007, before winning the tournament a year later, but she hasn’t been past the fourth round in Paris since. … Ranks third in WTA with 112 aces in 2014. But she also has 120 double-faults. … Only losses in European clay swing were to Williams, Sharapova, Halep.


Seeded: 15

Age: 21

Country: United States

2014 Match Record: 11-10

2014 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 0

Major Titles: 0 - Best: SF, at Australian Open (‘13)

Last 5 French Opens: ‘13-4th, ‘12-4th, ‘11-1st, ‘10-DNP, ‘09-DNP

Topspin: Barely above .500 this season, but Grand Slam tournaments seem to bring out her best - she’s made the second week at the last five majors. … Could face Halep in the fourth round, Ivanovic in quarterfinals.


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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