Friday May 20th, 2016

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

1 Serena Williams

The defending champ looks like her old self after the Rome triumph. Yes, she’s on a two-major losing streak. But when you can come to an event knowing that you need only to play at 70% of your capacity to win, that helps.

Seeds 2-16 (Basically interchangeable in terms of odds)

2 Agnieszka Radwanska

Credit her for the career-high ranking. But, somewhat counterintuitive, she seldom lives up to her seeding in Paris.

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3 Angelique Kerber

A bit of a (predictable) letdown after her Australian title. But her raking is well deserved. And if she wins the title, she’s halfway to the Grand Slam.

4 Garbiñe Muguruza

Loads of game but the salon is getting impatient. Could win the title; could fail to get out of Week One.

5 Victoria Azarenka

45 days ago, she might have been the favorite. Slipped a bit on clay, though, and is dealing with some back issues. Still, especially if the courts play faster and she builds confidence in Week One, look out.

6 Simona Halep

Our third choice after Serena and Azarenka. Two years ago she was dynamite on the clay. Time for another deep run at a major.

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7 Roberta Vinci

Credit Vinci for building on the Serena takedown at the 2015 U.S. Open and not letting it define her career. She’s now achieved her career-high ranking. (At age 33!).

8 Timea Bacsinszky

A semifinalist last year, she is defending many points but she’s played well of late and the draw opens nicely for her.

9 Venus Williams

Credit Venus simply for being a top 10 seed. Her first French Open was in 1997! Less optimistically, she is 9-6 on the year.

10. Petra Kvitova

The female Berdych (albeit with multiple major titles on her C.V.). Utterly mystifying with her results—and she’s been even more erratic than usual this spring.

11. Lucie Safarova

A finalist last year, she had a brutal battle with a bacterial infection, but she won in Prague and appears to be back in business.

12 Carla Suarez Navarro

It’s been an up-and-down year for CSN. Reached the Aussie quarters, won Doha….and did relatively little on the clay.

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13 Svetlana Kuznetsova

A serious contender, as well as a former French Open champ. A few weeks from turning 31, but the game is still there (on the right day).

14 Ana Ivanovic

The 2008 champ was a semifinalist in 2015. Though she might be distracted by bridesmaid dresses and the like.

15 Madison Keys

Coming off a run to the Rome final. Oft-injured, she benefits from playing every other day.

16 Sara Errani

A rough year for the former Roland Garros finalist.

Seeds 17-32

19 Sloane Stephens

Due for another deep run at a major.

20 Johanna Konta

Still playing with house money, Brit can enter top 20 with a few wins. Tough first rounder against Julia Goerges.

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21 Samantha Stosur

Former finalist comes in a little dinged up (wrist) but plays well on clay.

22 Dominika Cibulkova

Always dangerous, she’s won 22 matches and a title in 2016.

25 Irina-Camelia Begu

Quietly making a case for herself as a top 20 player.

29 Daria Kasatkina and 32 Jelena Ostapenko

Dueling for WTA BPYLNSP honors.

PHOTOS: FRENCH OPEN 2015 TOP 100

Dark horse pasture

Daria Gavrilova: Plucky Aussie likes the big stage.

Eugenie Bouchard: Slowly getting back to where she once belonged.

Sabine Lisicki: On the serve alone.

Misaki Doi: Has elevated her game multiple levels this year.

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First round matches to watch

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Naomi Osaka: Somebody’s O has got to go. (Battle of two talented teens.)

Francesca Schiavone vs. Kristina Mladenovic: Former champ versus top French player.

Andrea Petkovic vs. Laura Robson: Good chance for Robson to score a quality win.

Keys vs. Donna Vekic: Lot of power.

Misaki Doi vs. Sam Stosur: Rough draw for both.

Anna-Lena Friedsam vs. Daria Kasatkina: A 2019 second week match.

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Doubles winner

The Great Santina. That is Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.

Most likely to be a Brad Gilbert sports metaphor

“She’s holding her own like Draymond Green in the low post.”

Semifinals

Serena d. Kerber
Muguruza d. complete surprise (Misaki Doi?)

Finals

Serena d. Muguruza (The Serena Revenge draw)

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