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Wimbledon women's seed report

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's seeds at Wimbledon 2012. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses and winners predictions. Click here for the men's seed report.

Top 16 seeds

1. Maria Sharapova: Recent history suggests that as the last WTA winner of a major, she'll now flame out early. Except this is Sharapova. The French Open winner was also a finalist in 2011 and winner in 2004. She comes in with focus, momentum, an aura and the top ranking.

2. Victoria Azarenka: Has regressed since her terrific start to 2012, failing to reach the second week in Paris. In part, I fear, because of her -- how to put this? -- modest charm quotient, many have abandoned her ship. I rather like her chance of reaching deep in the second week, if not winning. Remember, too, that Amelie Mauresmo, a former winner, is in her corner.

3. Agnieszka Radwanska: After a disappointing French Open, the brassy Pole then loses early in her grass tune-up event. A-rad was brilliant through June 1, masking deficient power with clever, accurate tennis. Suddenly the vectors are going in the wrong direction.

4. Petra Kvitova: The defending champ is, ipso facto, a contender. But too often she plays B-plus tennis, good (and powerful) enough to squeak by, not good enough to get the brass ring.

5. Samantha Stosur: Good athlete. Nasty kick serve. Capable volleyer. Stosur ought to be a threat on grass. But she seldom plays well on the surface and, worse, lacks the self-belief. If she survives the middle weekend, consider us surprised. Looking at her draw she can't complain -- and could reach the middle weekend -- but not much more.

6. Serena Williams: The tournament's great X factor. Which Serena shows up? The one who used to win this tournament as a matter of ritual? (And owns Sharapova when they play head-to-head?) Or the one who lost in the first round of the French Open to a wild card, crying between sets? One of the great subplots of the event.

7. Caroline Wozniacki: So much for the notion that her being demoted from the top spot would be a disguised blessing. She's futzing with her serve and her coaching situation. Her confidence is shaky, She lost mid-tournament in France and then in a tuneup.

8. Angelique Kerber: A year ago, who among us would ever have thought she's be a top eight seed? Credit her for a serious mid-career surge. That said, if she plays up to her seeding (and reaches the quarters) it will be a big achievement.

9. Marion Bartoli: On the plus side, Bartoli beat Serena Williams last year and is a former Wimbledon finalist (2007). On the minus side: she is coming off a bad French Open loss. She won't be returning for the Olympics so it will be interesting to see how she fares during her lone visit to the AELTC this summer.

10. Sara Errani: Credit her for winning matches in Paris. But you get the feeling that was a once-in-a-career run.

11. Li Na: Such a streaky player, not only from event to event but often within a match. Tends to play well at the majors and has had success before at Wimbledon. But you always wonder whether the GPS indicates her head is at the right place.

12. Vera Zvonareva: Was it only two years ago that she reached the final? A solid player who maxed out her talent, but she is now almost an afterthought.

13. Dominika Cibulkova: In need of a new nickname, the Slovakette beat Azarenka in Paris. Always dangerous, always competitive, but her lack of weapons-grade strokes prevents her from winning big.

14. Ana Ivanovic: Sadly, her "comeback" seems to have settled into a reality: she is a fine player in the 10-15 range, whose days of contending for majors are no longer.

15. Sabine Lisicki: A 2011 semifinalist, she has a fine grass court resume and the serve-based game to do damage. On the other hand, her play lately has been rotten.

16. Flavia Pennetta: Um. No.

Seeds 17-32

19. Lucie Safarova: A big event player, she usually brings her tennis to bear at the Majors.

20. Nadia Petrova: Athletic all-court player usually self-destructs but is good for a few wins and close matches.

22. Julia Goerges: Modest year for the hard-hitting German, but her game should translate well to grass. And if the officials pronounce her name correctly, even better.

25. Jie Zheng: Like Li Na, Zheng is getting on in years (she turns 29 during the event) but she is a former semifinalist and tends to play well on faster surfaces.

28. Christina McHale: Slowly but steadily, this American player is climbing up. Since so many of her matches are tight, she needs to improve on closing. But her win this week over Wozniacki ought to fire her with some confidence.

32. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Any multiple time Grand Slam champion gets mentioned here, if only as a hedge.

DARK Horse Stable:

Petra Martic: Croatian is athletic and has a fun, all-court game.

Tsvetana Pironkova: A marginal player who goes big-time at Wimbledon.

Tamira Paszek: See above.

Sloane Stephens: It will be interesting to see if she can build on her fine French Open.

Venus Williams: Shocking not to see her seeded. Physically, she is a shell of herself. But as long as there's grass underfoot, she is a factor.

Kim Clijsters: Like Venus, she should be seeded, ranking be damned. Never won Wimbledon -- and is unlikely to in this final attempt -- but a player no seed wants to face early.

Blut plate upset specials

Martik def. Lisicki

Tamira Paszek def. Wozniacki

First round matches to watch:

Jelena Jankovic vs. Kim Clijsters: A former No. 1 won't get out of the first round.

Venus Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanksa: It's a (likely) second rounder but good chance for Venus to exact revenge on that French Open defeat.

Coco Vandeweghe vs. Sara Errani: Nice chance for American to spring upset.

Julia Goergres vs. Shahar Peer

Doubles winner

Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber

Singles Picks

Semis: Azarenka vs. Kvitova; Sharapova vs. total surprise (Maria Kirilenko?)

Final: Azarenka v. Sharapova

Champion: Sharapova

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