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Serena Williams of United States of America poses (Credit: Getty)

Serena Williams of United States of America poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after victory in the Women's Singles Final match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the French Open at Roland Garros. (June 8, 2013)

Top 10 women to watch at the 2013 U.S. Open

Here is a look at the top 10 women to watch at the 2013 U.S. Open.
By John Jeansonne

SERENA WILLIAMS No. 1 seed, Age 31, USA
(Credit: AP)

SERENA WILLIAMS
No. 1 seed, Age 31, USA
Since 1999, when Williams won the first of her 16 major tournament titles at the U.S. Open, eight Slam champions — potential challengers to Williams’ dominance — have retired: Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin, Anastasia Myskina, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Marion Bartoli. Another, Maria Sharapova, is injured. And Williams rolls along. |

VICTORIA AZARENKA No. 2 seed, Age 24, Belarus
(Credit: AP)

VICTORIA AZARENKA
No. 2 seed, Age 24, Belarus
In her native Belarus, there is an Azarenka postage stamp, and she expressed happiness that officials chose a picture of her about to serve, because, “when you play, the faces you make, that’s tough,” she said. She also produces grunts with the highest decibel level on tour. But there is nothing ugly or discordant about her tennis. She could be ready to handle Serena Williams. |

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA No. 3 seed, Age 24, Poland
(Credit: AP)

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA
No. 3 seed, Age 24, Poland
Sharapova’s last-minute withdrawal with shoulder problems bumped Radwanska up to No. 3 among the seeds, and she landed in Serena Williams’ half of the draw. Most likely, she won’t reach the second Slam final (2012 Wimbledon) of her career. Her pre-Open routine was disrupted when she left the Ohio tune-up tournament for her grandfather’s funeral in Poland. |

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LI NA No. 5 seed, Age 31, China
(Credit: AP)

LI NA
No. 5 seed, Age 31, China
The 2011 French Open champ, Asia’s first and only major-tournament winner, pushed Azarenka to three sets in this year’s Australian final and made the Wimbledon quarterfinals (a loss to Radwanska). She recently hired Carlos Rodriguez as coach after years of being coached by her husband, Jiang Shan. She said the move saved her marriage. (And didn’t hurt her tennis.) |

CAROLE WOZNIACKI No. 6 seed, Age 23, Denmark
(Credit: AP)

CAROLE WOZNIACKI
No. 6 seed, Age 23, Denmark
Ranked No. 1 in 2011, she has struggled mightily since, with only two tour titles in 30 tournaments the past two years. In majors, her runner-up finish at the 2009 Open and her two semifinals (Australian and U.S.) in 2011 also are distant memories: Out in the third, first, first, fourth, second and second rounds of her last six Slams. |

PETRA KVITOVA No. 7 seed, Age 23, Czech
(Credit: AP)

PETRA KVITOVA
No. 7 seed, Age 23, Czech Republic
After her 2011 Wimbledon title, Kvitova enjoyed a strong Grand Slam year in 2012 — two semifinals and a quarterfinal — but this year lost in the second round of the Australian and third round of the French. At Wimbledon, where the grass surface best suits her, she advanced to the quarters and a three-set loss to Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens. |

JELENA JANKOVIC No. 9 seed, Age 28, Serbia
(Credit: AP)

JELENA JANKOVIC
No. 9 seed, Age 28, Serbia
A former No. 1 (2008) but never a major-tournament winner. The closest she came was a straight-sets loss to Serena Williams in her only final at the 2008 Open. Jankovic slid to 22nd in the rankings last year but caused some damage in Ohio last week with a win over Sloane Stephens and three-set semifinal loss to Azarenka. |

SAMANTHA STOSUR No. 11 seed, Age 29, Australia
(Credit: AP)

SAMANTHA STOSUR
No. 11 seed, Age 29, Australia
Proof that the 2011 Open champion still can be dangerous is her tournament title in Carlsbad, Calif., last month, when she defeated top-10 players Radwanska and Azarenka. But her major-tournament play this year has not gone so well: She lost in the second round at the Australian and third round at both the French and Wimbledon. |

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KIRSTEN FLIPKENS No. 12 seed, Age 27, Belgium
(Credit: AP)

KIRSTEN FLIPKENS
No. 12 seed, Age 27, Belgium This year’s semifinal finish at Wimbledon, losing to eventual champion Bartoli, was a dramatic breakthrough for Flipkens after missing most of 2012 with a blood clot in her leg. In 17 Slam events before this year, she made it as far as the third round only once. Former Belgian star Kim Clijsters is a training advisor. |

SLOANE STEPHENS No. 15 seed, Age 20, USA
(Credit: AP)

SLOANE STEPHENS
No. 15 seed, Age 20, USA
Tennis insiders see Stephens as the next big thing in American women’s tennis, and the perception isn’t built strictly on Stephens’ quarterfinal upset of Serena Williams at this year’s Australian. Only the best have beaten Stephens in 2013 Slams — eventual champions Azarenka and Bartoli at the Australian and Wimbledon, respectively, and Sharapova at the French. |

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