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Wimbledon women's seed report: Serena seeks to rebound

Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

Top-ranked Serena Williams hasn't played since a surprising second-round loss at the French Open.

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

Top 16 seeds

1. Serena Williams: She's neither the defending champion nor the winner of this year's first two Grand Slam tournaments. Which means she could be ready to strike. Despite her second-round loss at the French Open and fourth-round loss here last year, how is she not the favorite?

2. Li Na: After a first-round loss at the French Open, she should be motivated to perform well. Her game is a match for grass, and she's not in a lot of danger in her draw, either.

3. Simona Halep: It not for an upper-back injury that caused her to retire from her second-round match at the Topshelf Open on Wednesday, she would be on the short list of contenders. She's brimming with self-belief after reaching the French Open final, and the grass-court aptitude is there. She took a set off Williams at the All England Club in 2011.

NGUYEN: Wimbledon draw winners and losers

4. Agnieszka Radwanska: The 2012 finalist and '13 semifinalist has a nice draw, with the rusty Victoria Azarenka the top seed in her quarter.

5. Maria Sharapova: Words we never thought we'd say: How will the clay-court doyenne adjust to the grass? The bad news: She's in Serena's quarter, and we know what that means.

6. Petra Kvitova: She's a former champion (2011), but she has become so fragile, both in spirit and body. The game and athleticism are there, but -- be it unseasonable weather conditions or her allergies or a niggling injury -- she's so easily dislodged from her comfort zone.

7. Jelena Jankovic: Yammering Jank is always good for some fun. But you don't win friends with salad and you don't win Grand Slams playing so much defense. It's very easy to see her losing to Kaia Kanepi in the first round.

8. Victoria Azarenka: A big "if." Thanks to a left foot injury, she hasn't won a match since Australia.

9. Angelique Kerber: The German is quickly becoming the Richard Gasquet of the WTA. She's a good bet to make the fourth round, playing to her seeding. She's a lousy bet to do much more.

10. Dominika Cibulkova: The Australian Open finalist made the quarterfinals in 2011, easily her best result in six appearances.

11. Ana Ivanovic: She looked sharp while tuning up, winning the Aegon Classic. But we said that heading into the French Open, too, and she fell in the third round. She's long overdue for a deep run at a major.

12. Flavia Pennetta: A fourth-round run last year helped kick-start her comeback from wrist surgery. She does nothing extravagantly but knows how to win.

13. Eugenie Bouchard: The 20-year-old Canadian is the only WTA player to reach the semifinals of the year's first two majors. She has a tough first-round match against veteran Daniela Hantuchova, and Williams and Sharapova both lurk in her quarter.

14. Sara Errani: A 6-6 career record at Wimbledon does not bode well.

15. Carla Suarez Navarro: Good hands. Good speed. Advanced to the fourth round in 2013. Bonus points for the one-handed backhand. We like, we like.

16. Caroline Wozniacki: This is the only Slam at which the former No. 1 has never been past the fourth round.

Seeds 17-32 to watch

17. Samantha Stosur: The rare Aussie whose game is not tailored to grass -- her career record at Wimbledon is 8-11 with no fourth-round appearances -- but she's still so strong and athletic.

18. Sloane Stephens: If it's a big event, she comes to play. She has an interesting opener against Maria Kirilenko.

19. Sabine Lisicki: A finalist (and Serena slayer) last year, she's always dangerous on grass, which accentuates her booming serve.

20. Andrea Petkovic: Bouchard looms in the third round and Williams in the fourth for the French Open semifinalist.

27. Garbine Muguruza: If she hits the ball as well as she did in Paris, it will compensate for her lack of grass experience.

28. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Two-time Slam winners must be acknowledged.

30. Venus Williams: She's a five-time champion. We leave it at that.

NGUYEN: Burning questions for Wimbledon

Dark horse stable

Camila Giorgi: She's already won 21 matches in 2014 and her game translates well to grass.

Madison Keys: Huge game is a good fit for the surface, and this week she's into her first WTA final, the Aegon International.

Tsvetana Pironkova: This is where she comes to play.

Taylor Townsend: The 2013 junior runner-up loves herself some grass.

Allison Riske: She's developed into a steady player, but her initial success came on grass.

Anna Schmiedlova: Lousy serve but the rest of her game says, "See you in the top 10."

First-round matches to watch

No. 7 Jelena Jankovic vs. Kaia Kanepi: My upset special. Kanepi was a quarterfinalist last year and in 2010.

No. 11 Ana Ivanovic vs. Francesca Schiavone: Two former major winners.

No. 18 Sloane Stephens vs. Maria Kirilenko: Rough draw for both.

No. 27 Garbine Muguruza vs. CoCo Vandeweghe: Vandeweghe, who has advanced to the Topshelf Open final, will challenge Muguruza with her titanic serve.

Madison Keys vs. Monica Puig: The two bright prospects met last year at the French Open, with Puig winning in straight sets.

Doubles winner

Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-wei: They've won a dozen titles -- most recently the French Open -- and have never lost a final.

Singles picks

Semifinals: Serena Williams vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Li Na vs. total surprise (Julia Goerges?)

Finals: Serena Williams vs. Li Na

Winner: Serena Williams

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