The Williams sisters, Serena at No. 1 and Venus at No. 2, bookend the seeding at the 2010 French Open, where a number of land mines in the form of low-seeded or unseeded former No. 1 players lay in wait.
Serena Williams receives a soft draw, opening against Swiss Stefanie Voegele, and potentially meets No. 29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round, and No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the fourth round. No. 7-seeded Sam Stosur is in Serena’s quarter of the draw, but the favorite to meet the younger Williams sister in the quarterfinals is No. 22-seeded Justine Henin.
No. 12 seed Maria Sharapova is also in this quarter, but between the Russian’s shoulder and confidence issues, she will be lucky to get to the third-round meeting against Henin.
No. 4-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic is the high seed in the second quarter, and starts against Aussie Alicia Molik, who is not at her best on clay.
The second quarter of the draw is chock-full of interesting early match-ups, including No. 27 Alona Bondarenko against Russian grinder Vera Dushevina, former No. 1 and current No. 9 seed Dinara Safina against the ageless Kimiko Date-Krumm, and a likely second-round meeting between No. 28 Alisa Kleybanova and Ana Ivanovic.
As this is the WTA Tour, the favorite to come out of the second quarter is — flip a coin.
The third quarter of the draw is bookended by No. 3 seed Caroline Wozniacki and No. 6 seed and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who may still be dealing with injury issues. Kuzy will be tested in her opener against Romanian Sorana Cirstea. The Woz starts against Russian Alla Kudryavtseva.
Other starters of interest in the third quarter are No. 30 Maria Kirilenko against Karolina “The Spreminator!” Sprem, and No. 24 Lucie Safarova vs. Jelena Dokic, who is on comeback No. 23.
Venus is the queen of the fourth quarter of the draw, and No. 5-seeded Elena Dementieva could be her heir. Both will be tested early, Venus opening against Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, and Dementieva looking at a second-round meeting with the player who has become her rival, American Melanie Oudin. If Oudin can get through her opener against Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues, it will be the third time this year she has faced Dementieva, losing the two previous at the WTA Paris event and in Fed Cup. Oudin won their career-first meeting last year at the US Open.
The by-the-seeding quarterfinal match-ups would be (1) Serena vs. (7) Stosur, (4) Jankovic vs. (8) Radwanska, (3) Wozniacki vs. (6) Kuznetsova, and (2) Venus vs. (5) Dementieva.
I’m going to go with (1) Serena vs. (22) Henin, (4) Jankovic vs. Ivanovic, Schiavone vs. (14) Pennetta, and (5) Dementieva vs. (15) Rezai.
After that, flip a coin. Or save time and start in the first round. Got a better read on the quarters than me? Post them here and we’ll see who comes out on top.
Also Check Out:
Serena Williams, Azarenka, Yawn: US Open Women’s Preview
US Open Women’s Preview: Serena v Maria Final?
WTA Cincinnati Preview: All Eyes on Serena Williams; Venus and Clijsters Out
Preview: Serena in Doubt at Power-packed WTA Rome
Serena Tops Sister Venus Williams for Wimbledon Crown