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FRENCH OPEN 2012: Capsules on men to watch

Men to watch at the French Open, where play begins Sunday:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

Ranked: 1

Age: 25

Country: Serbia

2012 Match Record: 30-5

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 30

Major Titles: 5 — Australian Open ('08, '11, '12), Wimbledon ('11), U.S. Open ('11)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-Lost in Semifinals, '10-QF, '09-3rd Round, '08-SF, '07-SF

Topspin: Winner of the past three Grand Slam tournaments and aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four in a row. ... Also trying to become the eighth man with a career Grand Slam. ... Was 41-0 in 2011 — the best start since John McEnroe began 42-0 in 1984 — before losing to Roger Federer in French Open semifinals. They were drawn to meet in the semifinals again this year. ... Never been to the final at Roland Garros.

RAFAEL NADAL

Ranked: 2

Age: 25 (turns 26 on June 3)

Country: Spain

2012 Match Record: 33-4

2012 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 49

Major Titles: 10 — French Open ('05, '06, '07, '08, '10, '11), Wimbledon ('08, '10), U.S. Open ('10), Australian Open ('09)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-Won Championship, '10-W, '09-4th, '08-W, '07-W

Topspin: Career record at French Open is 45-1; only loss came in fourth round in 2009 to Robin Soderling, who withdrew from the tournament this year. ... Can set record with seventh French Open championship this year; is tied with Bjorn Borg with six. ... After losing seven consecutive matches to Djokovic, all in finals — including at the last three Grand Slam tournaments — beat the Serb in their last two meetings, at Monte Carlo and Rome.

ROGER FEDERER

Ranked: 3

Age: 30

Country: Switzerland

2012 Match Record: 31-4

2012 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 74

Major Titles: 16 — French Open ('09), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09), U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08), Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-F, '10-QF, '09-W, '08-F, '07-F

Topspin: Needs two match wins to break Jimmy Connors' Open era Grand Slam record of 233. Federer enters the French Open at 232-35. ... Owns record 16 Grand Slam singles titles but has gone more than two years without one, by far his longest drought since he won his first at Wimbledon in 2003. ... Briefly moved past longtime rival Nadal and up to No. 2 in the rankings before dropping back again.

ANDY MURRAY

Ranked: 4

Age: 25

Country: Britain

2012 Match Record: 22-7

2012 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 22

Major Titles: 0 — Best: F, at U.S. Open in '08, Australian Open in '10, '11

Last 5 French Opens: '11-SF, '10-4th, '09-QF, '08-'3rd, '07-Did Not Play

Topspin: Semifinalist or better at the last five Grand Slam tournaments. ... There hasn't been a British male champion at a major tennis tournament since Fred Perry won the U.S. championship in 1936. ... Is 0-3 in major finals.

DAVID FERRER

Ranked: 6

Age: 30

Country: Spain

2012 Match Record: 33-7

2012 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 14

Major Titles: Major Titles: 0 — Best: SF, at U.S. Open in '07, Australian Open in '11

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

Topspin: Five of his seven losses this season were to Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. ... Ranks fourth on the ATP World Tour this season in break-point conversion (48 percent) and points won on first-serve returns (37 percent).

TOMAS BERDYCH

Ranked: 7

Age: 26

Country: Czech Republic

2012 Match Record: 28-8

2012 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 7

Major Titles: Major Titles: 0 — Best: F, at Wimbledon in '10

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

Topspin: As inconsistent as can be at Roland Garros, he looked like a title contender in 2010, and then bowed out in the first round last year by wasting a two-set lead against a French qualifier ranked 140th. ... Tough to dismiss him, though, given the powerful strokes that carried him to a final on clay at Madrid this month.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

Ranked: 9

Age: 23

Country: Argentina

2012 Match Record: 33-8

2012 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 11

Major Titles: Major Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('09)

Last 5 French Opens: '11-3rd, '10-DNP, '09-SF, '08-2nd, '07-1st

Topspin: With a big serve and forehand, and 6-foot-6 worth of court coverage, was thought to be a rising star before wrist surgery sidetracked him. Appears to be rounding back into shape now. ... Threw a scare into Federer at Paris in the semifinals in 2009, the year the Swiss star won his only French Open title.

JOHN ISNER

Ranked: 11

Age: 27

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 22-10

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 3

Major Titles: Major Titles: 0 — Best: QF, at U.S. Open in '11

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

Topspin: The 6-foot-9 American is second on the ATP World Tour with 392 aces this season (Milos Raonic leads with 426). ... Career record at Roland Garros is only 2-3, but in the first round in 2011 came close to becoming only second man to beat Nadal at the French Open, pushing him to five sets on Court Philippe Chatrier. ... Has lost four of past six tournament matches.