Women to watch at the U.S. Open, which begins Monday:


Seeded: 1

Age: 23

Country: Belarus

2012 Match Record: 48-7

2012 Singles Titles: 4

Career Singles Titles: 12

Major Titles: 1 — Australian Open ('12)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-Lost in 3rd Round, '10-2nd, '09-3rd, '08-3rd, '07-4th

Topspin: U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam tournament where she hasn't been past the fourth round — and she's only made it that far once in New York, way back in 2007. Her game, though, should be better-suited for Flushing Meadows' hard courts. ... Won her first major title in January at the Australian Open. ... Her 26-match winning streak was the longest at the start of a season since 1997.


Seeded: 2

Age: 23

Country: Poland

2012 Match Record: 48-14

2012 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 10

Major Titles: 0 — Best: F, at Wimbledon ('12)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-2nd, '10-2nd, '09-2nd, '08-4th, '07-4th

Topspin: Retired during match at New Haven Open tuneup tournament, citing bothersome right shoulder, but expects to play at U.S. Open. ... Never so much as a Grand Slam semifinalist until Wimbledon, where she broke through by making it all the way to the final before losing to Serena Williams. ... Six of her first eight losses this season came against Azarenka. ... Four of the past six Grand Slam champions were first-time major title winners.


Seeded: 3

Age: 25

Country: Russia

2012 Match Record: 44-7

2012 Singles Titles: 3

Career Singles Titles: 27

Major Titles: 4 — U.S. Open ('06), Wimbledon ('04), Australian Open ('08), French Open ('12)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-3rd, '10-4th, '09-3rd, '08-Did Not Play, '07-3rd

Topspin: Made a brief stay back at No. 1 in the WTA rankings after completing a career Grand Slam by winning first French Open title in June. ... Represented a real return after struggling to adjust following October 2008 surgery on her right, racket-swinging shoulder. ... Since winning the U.S. Open in 2006, has made it past the third round only once — and that was only a fourth-round appearance in 2010.


Seeded: 4

Age: 30

Country: United States

2012 Match Record: 46-4

2012 Singles Titles: 5

Career Singles Titles: 44

Major Titles: 14 — U.S. Open ('99, '02, '08), Wimbledon ('02, '03, '09, '10, '12), Australian Open ('03, '05, '07, '09, '10), French Open ('02)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-F, '10-DNP, '09-SF, '08-Won Championship, '07-QF, '06-4th

Topspin: Bounced back from first-round exit at French Open — her only opening-match loss in 48 career Grand Slam tournaments — to win Wimbledon for fifth time, then Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles (with older sister Venus). ... Says Andre Agassi: "When she's in full flight, it's hard to think of anybody who can match up with what she brings to the table." ... Speaking about her ranking recently, Williams said: "It doesn't matter whether I'm 1 or 4. I still feel like I'm a force to be reckoned with."


Seeded: 5

Age: 22

Country: Czech Republic

2012 Match Record: 38-12 (Playing in New Haven Open)

2012 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 8

Major Titles: 1 — Wimbledon ('11)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-1st, '10-3rd, '09-4th, '08-1st, '07-DNP

Topspin: 6-foot-tall left-hander has skills to succeed on hard courts, but hasn't been able to put together a strong showing at Flushing Meadows, including last year's straight-set loss to 48th-ranked Alexandra Dulgheru in the first round. ... Grand Slam losses this year have come against Sharapova (semifinals at both Australian Open, French Open) or Williams (quarterfinals at Wimbledon).


Seeded: 7

Age: 28

Country: Australia

2012 Match Record: 31-17

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 3

Major Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('11)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-W, '10-QF, '09-2nd, '08-1st, '07-1st

Topspin: Will be fascinating to see how she handles defending a Grand Slam title for the first time. ... Constantly dealing with jangling nerves on tennis' biggest stages, including bumbling loss in French Open semifinals and second-round exit at Wimbledon this year. All of which makes her lopsided victory over Williams in last year's U.S. Open final all the more surprising.


Seeded: 23

Age: 29

Country: Belgium

2012 Match Record: 19-5

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 41

Major Titles: 4 — U.S. Open ('05, '09, '10), Australian Open ('11)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-DNP, '10-W, '09-W, '08-DNP, '07-DNP

Topspin: Insists the 2012 U.S. Open will be the last tournament of her career. ... One of the most popular players on tour — among fans, officials and even opponents. ... Owns a 21-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows dating to 2005, when she won her first Grand Slam title. Missed the tournament the next three years, then came out of retirement shortly before the 2009 U.S. Open and won it again. After successfully defending that title in 2010, skipped the event again last year because of a stomach muscle injury.


Unseeded; Ranked 47th on Aug. 20

Age: 32

Country: United States

2012 Match Record:

2012 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 43

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

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '11-2nd, '10-SF, '09-4th, '08-QF, '07-SF

Topspin: Returns to New York a year after withdrawing hours before her second-round match at the U.S. Open and revealing she had been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain. ... In Grand Slam action since then, lost in second round of French Open, first round of Wimbledon.