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French Open women's seed report

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the women's seeds at the French Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses and predictions. Click here for the men's report.

Top 16 Seeds

1. Victoria Azarenka: The Australian Open queen has suddenly cooled off. She has a lot of tools but it's unclear a) if she can master clay, b) how she'll deal with a right-shoulder injury and c) if her psyche is wounded by a brutal loss to Serena Williams in Madrid. From a credibility standpoint, it would be good for her and for the WTA if she could win and solidify her status.

2. Maria Sharapova: Which Sharapova shows up in Week 2? The dynamo who won Stuttgart, beating Sam Stosur, Petra Kvitova and Azarenka? Or the passive player who was steamrolled by Williams in Madrid? She's a better clay-courter than many (including herself) give her credit for being. But it's been more than four years since she's won a major. And she still needs to prove she can beat a motivated Williams, who is in her quarter.

3. Agnieszka Radwanska: Her record against Azarenka notwithstanding, it's been a dynamite 2012 for Radwanska, a clever, crafty player and former French Open junior champ. A likely second-rounder against Venus Williams intrigues.

4. Petra Kvitova: An unremarkable 2012 so far and her movement can be exposed on clay. Ought to be able to slug her way to Week 2. Then let's see if she can elevate her game.

5. Serena Williams: Can we pause and acknowledge how remarkable it is that, a full decade after her lone French Open title, Williams is still going this strong? Again and again you'll hear, "When she's motivated and healthy, she is the best in the world." But truth is truth. It says here that Serena gets back in the winners' circle.

6. Sam Stosur: The 2010 runner-up can play on clay, where the slow surface affords her time to load up that forehand. But where's her head? Since winning the U.S. Open with a courageous two weeks, she's returned to Headcaseville.

7. Li Na: After winning last year's French Open, she promptly regressed to the disappointment of many (like, 1.2 billion, many). But she has upgraded her game lately. Potential challenging first-round match against Sorana Cirstea but, overall, can't complain about her draw.

8. Marion Bartoli: Marion the Contrarian is the seeded wild card, equally capable of deep runs and early exits. She gave the locals the former last year, making the semifinals. Another strong run would further expose the scandal of her being kept off the Olympic team.

9. Caroline Wozniacki: One had hoped that her expulsion from the top spot would have focused her. Instead, it seems to have further eroded her confidence. A rough spring for Wozniacki can be salvaged in Paris. But, a few months after leaving the top spot, she's not really in the contender conversation. Now she's down to No. 9. And worse, she is in Serena's neighborhood of the draw.

10. Angelique Kerber: Here's a dark horse. When Kerber reached the U.S. Open semifinals last September, she was ranked No. 92. Since then? She has been winning relentlessly and is now top 10!

11. Vera Zvonareva: The Russian is only 7-7 this year. This has early upset written all over it.

12. Sabine Lisicki: A nice, promising player with a booming serve. Hope she leaves court under better circumstances than she did last year.

13. Ana Ivanovic: The 2008 champion is still searching for her mojo, but every now and then there are flickers of former greatness. Not only is she personally pleasant, but also it's hard not to admire an athlete trying doggedly to recapture the magic.

14. Francesca Schiavone: The 2010 champion has won 13 of her last 14 matches at Roland Garros. She's such a fun, flashy and unpredictable player -- a thirty-something who's young at heart -- that it's hard not to root for her. But her results in 2012 have been rough.

15: Dominika Cibulkova: The WTA's answer to David Ferrer, an undersized grinder who wins with guts and hustle. Lacks the weapons to win, but can make life brutal for the opponent.

16: Maria Kirilenko: The 25-year-old Russian has reached the fourth round in back-to-back years, her best finishes at Roland Garros.

Seeds 17-32: Notable Players

17. Sara Errani: The Italian has already won three clay titles in 2012.

19. Jelena Jankovic: Her best days are, alas, behind her. But she is a former No.1.

26. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Struggling mightily but she is a former Roland Garros champ.

25. Julia Goerges: Can she adapt her power to clay? Some fine results on dirt in 2011, but not coming in with much momentum.

30. Mona Barthel: Best seed you may never have seen play. Has pushed Azarenka twice in tight three-setters this year; let's see how she handles the big stage.

23. Kaia Kanepi: Former Roland Garros junior champ (2001) has two titles in 2012 and a fine track record in Paris.

Dark Horse Stable

Christina McHale: She hasn't won a match at Roland Garros in two appearances, but the highest-ranked American (No. 35) not named Williams has been to the third round in the last two majors.

Carla Suarez Navarro: A semifinalist at Barcelona and finalist at Estoril, Navarro could see a struggling Zvonareva in the second round.

Venus Williams: Because she's Venus Williams. Alas for her, Radwanska looms in the second round.

Petra Cetkovska: Underrated player beat Radwanska in Rome at her last event.

First-Round Matches to Watch

Francesca Schiavone vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm: Almost 75 years of women!

Ekaterina Makarova vs. Sloane Stephens: Australian Open quarterfinalist meets young American looking for her first main-draw win at the French Open.

Second-Round Matches to Watch

Venus Williams vs. Aga Radwanska: Two big names could square off early.

Christina McHale vs. Mona Barthel: Stern test for the 20-year-old American.

Blue-Plate Upset Special in First Round

Date-Krumm def. Schiavone

Doubles Winner

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

Singles Picks

Semifinals: Victoria Azarenka vs. Aga Radwanska; Major surprise (Mona Barthel?) vs. Serena Williams

Finals: Azarenka vs. Williams

Champion: Williams

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