French Open women's seed report
1. Serena Williams: The good news: She comes in as the overwhelming favorite. Injury notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which she loses. The bad news: That's what we said a year ago, and she was bounced in Round 1. (And that's what we said in Australia, and she lost prematurely there, too.) Plus, she hasn't even been to the semis at Roland Garros in a decade. Still, she's never looked better coming into Paris. We say she wins it.
2. Maria Sharapova: The defending champ almost moved into the "dark horse" category. Such is the women's game in 2013. We all know her track record against Williams. But on the off-chance that Sharapova can avoid the top seed, is there a better contender?
3. Victoria Azarenka: At her best, she can challenge Williams. Dinged by injuries -- and lacking full self-belief -- she's playing for second place. The Australian Open has a potentially tough first-rounder against Elena Vesnina.
4. Agnieszka Radwanska: Giving lie to the myth that small players benefit from the slow clay, the Pole -- admired as she should be for her creative game -- is especially vulnerable, particularly on the serve.
5. Sara Errani: A finalist last year, Errani deserves credit for continuing to win matches after what appeared to be a lightning-in-a-bottle season.
6. Li Na: The 2011 champion has a track record and, before injury, reached the final of the previous major. She could lose to crafty veteran Anabel Medina Garrigues right away. She could also make a deep run.
7. Petra Kvitova: The WTA's mystery lady. She looked like a future star after winning Wimbledon in 2011, but she hasn't come close to replicating that success. Kvitova has lots of game and still is armed with those heavy, lefty strokes. But she's prone to lapses, fatigue and disappearance.
8. Angelique Kerber: A WTA David Ferrer. Admirable in her mid-life ascent and her ability to wring results from unremarkable talent. But not a credible threat. Plus, she starts against our favorite, Mona Barthel.
9. Samantha Stosur: The 2010 finalist benefits from the clay -- both on her kick service and the time it provides to set up her forehand. But as a Basement Jaxx player would ask: Where's her head at?
10. Caroline Wozniacki: In a short amount of time, Wozniacki has gone from a top seed to a player you root for almost out of sympathy, fearing the magic (and confidence) is gone. Realistically, if she reaches the middle weekend, it will be a successful tournament, on the wake of four consecutive opening-round losses in French Open tune-ups. Laura Robson will provide an early test.
11. Nadia Petrova: All credit to the Russian veteran (now -- gulp -- in her 30s) for getting back to this level. She's still a standout athlete with a game that translates surprisingly well to clay. And she still comes with a vast range of outcomes.
12. Maria Kirilenko: Here's the good news: She didn't draw Henrik Lundqvist in the first round. (Ba-dum-bum.) A versatile, all-surface, all-purpose game makes her dangerous anywhere.
13. Marion Bartoli: Always an interesting player, but especially now given her coaching change (or was it?). For all the French players who wilt in their home major, Bartoli -- who's always marched to her own tabla -- can rise to the occasion.
14. Ana Ivanovic: She's had quite a journey since winning the 2008 title. For all her ups and downs, the Serb can still smack the ball. What is the status of her self-belief?
15. Roberta Vinci: The Italian cut-and-paste: a fun, athletic, expressive, stylish player. Light on the weaponry. She and Errani ought to defend their doubles title.
16. Dominika Cibulkova: The unfortunately nicknamed "pocket rocket" made a nice show in 2012, beating Azarenka and making the quarterfinals. One of those vexing players no one wants to face.
17. Sloane Stephens: Quiet -- at least in terms of results -- since Australia. A fourth-round showing last year suggests she could get back in the conversation. Got some love from the draw gods.
18. Jelena Jankovic: Nice comeback for one of the more charismatic players in the game.
19. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: Even before Martina Hingis joined her corner, the Russian started the season strong. Alas, she's near Williams in the draw.
20. Carla Suarez Navarro. The off-brand Justine Henin.
22. Ekatarina Makarova: Giant killer has beaten both Williams and Azarenka in the past 18 months.
27. Yaroslava Shvedova: Athletic, all-court player who brings her best to the Slams.
30. Venus Williams: Strictly out of respect.
Kaia Kanepi: Often comes to play at the majors.
Laura Robson: Not her choice surface, but the top 20 beckons.
Mona Barthel: Again, we eagerly await the nuptials of her "game" and her "self-belief."
Francesca Schiavone: Not the player she was, but she did win the 2010 title.
Svetlana Kuznetsova: The 2009 winner's recent results are as erratic as ever.
Kristina Mladenovic: Replaces Monica Niculescu as best WTAer you've never heard of.
Madison Keys: Best U.S. prospect is dangerous, even on clay.
Betthanie Mattek-Sands: Long as we're in jingoist mode, check out these recent results.
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Laura Robson: Descent vs. ascent.
Venus Williams vs. Urszula Radwanska: Battle of the other sisters.
Kimiko Date-Krumm vs. Sam Stosur: Date-Krumm is 42 years old!
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Ekaterina Makarova: Two streaky Russians.
Jelena Jankovic vs. Daniela Hantuchova: A pair of former top-five players.
Laura Robson over Caroline Wozniacki: Does that count? If not ...
Petra Martic over Ana Ivanovic
"She was knocked off as unceremoniously as Amy Trask."
Vendi, vidi, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci
Semifinals: Serena Williams vs. total surprise (Carla Suarez Navarro?); Victoria Azarenka vs. Maria Sharapova
Final: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka
Winner: Serena Williams