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Posted: Friday June 20, 2008 10:19AM; Updated: Friday June 20, 2008 11:37AM
Jon Wertheim Jon Wertheim >
INSIDE TENNIS

Wimbledon women's seed report

Story Highlights
  • Jelena Jankovic is the "Best Player Never to Have Won a Slam"
  • Barring injury, Maria Sharapova ought to sail through to the semis
  • Can new star Ana Ivanovic make it two Slams in four weeks?
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Ana Ivanovic took the French Open title, but can she sustain  her success at Wimbledon?
Ana Ivanovic took the French Open title, but can she sustain her success at Wimbledon?
Reuters

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at Wimbledon. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.

1. Ana Ivanovic: Can the WTA's new star make it two Slams in four weeks? With her booming serve and forehand, she's a tantalizing pick. But between the exhaustion factor and AI's modest track record on grass, we prefer Sharapova.

2. Jelena Jankovic: Now that Ivanovic has left the club, "Hammering Jank" becomes the "Best Player Never to Have Won a Slam." We're unapologetic fans of her character and disposition; but at some point she needs to take that proverbial next step.

3. Maria Sharapova: First, does it really make sense to seed her below Jankovic, who holds only the slimmest points lead and has nothing close to Sharapova's track record at WB? Anyway, MS is eager to exorcise the disappointment of France and quell Ana-mania. It says here the well-rested Russian regains her throne on the lawns. Barring injury, she ought to sail through to the semis. Then, it's about guts.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova: One of the few contenders who bothered with a tune-up event -- yet that was unsuccessful. Koozie has the game and athleticism to win any event she enters, but seems to lack self-belief right now.

5. Elena Dementieva: Steady Russian blew her best chance for a slam this year in Paris. Her serve -- vulnerable to begin with -- is particularly dubious on grass. There are also the lingering questions about confidence. Tough draw has her playing hot prospect Bacsinszky and then Davenport just to get to the fourth round.

6. Serena Williams: If the body and mind are willing, she could easily win on the lawn. But that can be a big condition, especially given how "off" she looked in Paris. Third rounder against Mauresmo is intriguing.

7. Venus Williams: She's won four of the last eight Wimbledon titles and she's seeded seventh? What? Not much in the way of encouraging results coming in, but since when has that meant anything? As always, pick against her at your own peril.

8. Anna Chakvetadze: Here's a stock on the decline. The great untold story: How has Chakvetadze's off-season trauma affected her tennis?

9. Dinara Safina: An intriguing player, even before her run to the final in Paris. She probably lacks the movement to win big on grass, but she's playing top five ball lately.

10. Daniela Hantuchova: A no-show at the French, Hantuchova is a fine grass player but there are lingering questions about whether her brittle body can hold up.

11. Marion Bartoli: A finalist last year, Bartoli was enduring a miserable year, but seems to have found a second life on grass. Won't replicate last year's run -- even if Connery, Brosnan, Moore and Dalton all sit behind the baseline -- but she could certainly live up to her seeding.

12. Patty Schnyder: Loopy lefty consistently underperforms on grass.

13. Vera Zvonareva: As always, props on resurrecting her career. But the Lachrymose One may well lose off the bat to a solid Casey Dellacqua.

14. Agnieszka Radwanksa: The "Brassy Pole" lacks the weapons to threaten the Big Guns but remains a feisty fun-to-watch player. Tough first rounder against Benesova but keep an eye on her.

15. Agnes Szavay: A Jankovic in the making, Hungarian tends to overplay -- 14 events already this year! -- and undercut her chances with fatigue. Still, the breakthrough will come soon.

16. Viktoria Azarenka: Here's a player to star in your program. The pride of Scottsdale is probably not ready to win majors; but she's a powerful striker who knows what to do when she can convince herself to head netward.

Seeds 17-32

17. Alize Cornet: It's unclear if she has aptitude on grass, but the vectors are certainly headed in the right direction. As opposed to ...

18. Nicole Vaidisova: One has to believe this brutal slump will eventually end.

23. Katarina Srbotnik: Fresh off a big win over Serena Williams in Paris, Srbotnik is perhaps the best volleyer in the women's game and ought to do well on grass.

25. Lindsay Davenport: One wishes she entered in better health. But any former winner -- even if it's nearly a decade later -- deserves consideration.

29. Amelie Mauresmo: See above. Her game and focus have drifted, but she did win the darn tournament two years ago!

Alona (28) and Katreryna Bondarenko: They both can move, they both can volley and the latter won a tune-up.

Dark-horse nation

Sabine Lisicki: Big serving German could be dangerous.

Sam Stosur: Attacking Aussie is back after battling illness.

Timea Bacsinzky: Swiss prospect generating significant buzz.

Tamira Paszek: Second weeker in 2007, Austrian teen appears destined for top 10.

First round matches to watch

Alize Cornet v. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: Two of the better teens out there.

Lisicki vs. Bartoli: Tough first rounder for Bartoli, the defending finalist.

Mauresmo vs. Ashley Harkleroad: Miss August draws former champ.

Serena Williams vs. Kaia Kanepi: Can rolling Estonian continue inspired play from Paris?

Blue plate upset special

Casey Dellacqua to beat Patty Schnyder

Doubles winners

Ai Sugiyama and Katarina Srebotnik

Semis

Ivanovic vs. Serena Williams

Sharapova vs. Venus

Final

Sharapova vs. Serena

Champion

Sharapova

 
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