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TENNIS

FRENCH OPEN 2012: Capsules on women to watch

Women to watch at the French Open; where play begins Sunday:

VICTORIA AZARENKA

Ranked: 1

Age: 22

Country: Belarus

2012 Match Record: 35-3

2012 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 12

Major Titles: 1 — Australian Open ('12)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-Lost in Quarterfinals, '10-1st Round, '09-QF, '08-4th, '07-1st

Topspin: First time she'll be seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament. ... Took over the top spot in the WTA rankings after winning her first major title in Australia. ... Was the fourth consecutive first-time women's Grand Slam champion. ... Her 26-match winning streak was the longest at the start of a season since 1997.

MARIA SHARAPOVA

Ranked: 2

Age: 25

Country: Russia

2012 Match Record: 29-5

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 26

Major Titles: 3 — Wimbledon ('04), U.S. Open ('06), Australian Open ('08)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-SF, '10-3rd, '09-QF, '08-4th, '07-SF

Topspin: Coming off clay-court title at Italian Open for second year in a row. The bad news: No women's champion in Rome has gone on to win that year's French Open since 2002, when Serena Williams did it. ... French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament Sharapova hasn't won — or even reached the final. ... Once likened her problems moving on red clay to a "cow on ice," but now seems more comfortable on the surface.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA

Ranked: 3

Age: 23

Country: Poland

2012 Match Record: 33-7 (Playing at Brussels)

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 9

Major Titles: 0 — Best: QF, five times, most recently at Australian Open ('12)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-4th, '10-2nd, '09-4th, '08-2nd, '07-1st

Topspin: Six of her seven losses this season were to Azarenka. ... Reached at least the quarterfinals at nine of 10 tournaments in 2012. ... Although never before past the fourth round at Roland Garros, could be the next player to make a breakthrough with her first Grand Slam title.

PETRA KVITOVA

Ranked: 4

Age: 22

Country: Czech Republic

2012 Match Record: 17-7

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: 1 — Wimbledon ('11)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-4th, '10-1st, '09-Did Not Play, '08-4th, '07-DNP

Topspin: Tall left-hander's best Grand Slam results have come on grass at Wimbledon, where she reached semifinals in 2010, then won the championship last year. ... Only player ranked in top 10 who hasn't reached a final this year.

SERENA WILLIAMS

Ranked: 5

Age: 30

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 27-2

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 41

Major Titles: 13 — Wimbledon ('02, '03, '09, '10), U.S. Open ('99, '02, '08), Australian Open ('03, '05, '07, '09, '10), French Open ('02)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-DNP, '10-QF, '09-QF, '08-3rd, '07-QF

Topspin: 17-0 on clay this season with two titles; withdrew from Italian Open with a back injury before her semifinal match (that doesn't count as a loss). ... Shortly after winning Wimbledon in 2010, cut her foot on glass, leading to a series of health issues, including clots in her lungs; returned to the tour in June 2011. .. She's 46-0 in first-round matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

LI NA

Ranked: 7

Age: 30

Country: China

2012 Match Record: 21-8

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 5

Major Titles: 1 — French Open ('11)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-W, '10-3rd, '09-4th, '08-DNP, '07-3rd

Topspin: At last year's French Open, became the first tennis player from China to win a Grand Slam singles championship. ... She also reached the Australian Open final in January 2011. ... Reached final on clay in Rome before losing rain-soaked final to Sharapova.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI

Ranked: 9

Age: 21

Country: Denmark

2012 Match Record: 20-10

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 18

Major Titles: 0 — Best: F, at U.S. Open in '09

Last 5 French Opens: '11-3rd, '10-QF, '09-3rd, '08-3rd, '07-1st

Topspin: After a half-dozen titles each of the past two seasons, still seeking her first of 2012. Only reached one final so far. ... Still looking for her first Grand Slam title.

VENUS WILLIAMS

Ranked: 52nd

Age: 31

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 11-4

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 43

Major Titles: 7 — Wimbledon ('00, '01, '05, '07, '08), U.S. Open ('00, '01)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-DNP, '10-4th, '09-3rd, '08-3rd, '07-3rd

Topspin: Returns to Grand Slam action for the first time since Aug. 29 at the U.S. Open; two days later, she pulled out of her second-round match at that tournament, revealing that she'd been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. ... Missed last year's French Open; before that, she'd entered every year since her debut in 1997. ... Has played more Grand Slam matches (210-46) and French Open matches (40-14) than any active woman.