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Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates after scoring against Serbia's (Credit: AP )

Russia's Maria Sharapova celebrates after scoring against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic in their quarterfinal match at the French Open. Sharapova won in three sets, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. (June 5, 2013)

10 women to watch at the U.S. Open

SERENA WILLIAMS

Age 32, United States No. 1 seed The
(Credit: AP)

Age 32, United States
No. 1 seed
The surprise is that the perennially dominant Serena Williams has not won a major this year, and that — despite her 17 career Slam titles — there have been 13 other women to win major tournaments over the past 10 years. Still, conventional wisdom insists that Williams is the heavy favorite. Again.

SIMONA HALEP

Age 22, Romania No. 2 seed With reigning
(Credit: AP)

Age 22, Romania
No. 2 seed
With reigning Australian Open champion Li Na (knee) absent from the Open, Simona Halep was bumped up to the second seed in the midst of her best pro season, with a runner-up finish at the French Open and a semifinal loss at Wimbledon. But Halep is just 2-2 in summer hard court matches.

PETRA KVITOVA

Age 24, Czech Republic No. 3 seed Petra
(Credit: AP)

Age 24, Czech Republic
No. 3 seed
Petra Kvitova was overpowering in winning a second Wimbledon title last month, but has been balky on hard courts this summer, and she recently acknowledged that she still is trying to get comfortable with the U.S. Open. “I’m not really a fan of New York,” she said. “It’s too crowded for me.”

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA

Age 25, Poland No. 4 seed A Wimbledon
(Credit: AP)

Age 25, Poland
No. 4 seed
A Wimbledon finalist in 2012, Agnieszka Radwanska never has been past the fourth round in eight previous U.S. Opens. Her best result in this year’s Slams was a semifinal loss at the Australian Open to 13th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

MARIA SHARAPOVA

Age 27, Russia No. 5 seed Always a
(Credit: AP)

Age 27, Russia
No. 5 seed
Always a tough out, Maria Sharapova can be counted on for intense effort, loud grunts and occasional serving maladies. She is in possibly the most difficult quarter of the draw, so a sixth major-tournament title will demand her best, and maybe a bit of luck.

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EUGENIE BOUCHARD

Age 20, Canada No. 7 seed In 17
(Credit: AP)

Age 20, Canada
No. 7 seed
In 17 tournaments this year, Eugenie Bouchard lost her first match eight times. But she is the only player, man or woman, to advance at least to the semifinals of all three Slams, each time losing to the eventual champion: Li Na, Australian semis; Sharapova, French semis; Kvitova, Wimbledon finals.

ANA IVANOVIC

Age 26, Serbia No. 8 seed Since winning
(Credit: AP)

Age 26, Serbia
No. 8 seed
Since winning the French Open in 2008, Ana Ivanovic has been as far as a Slam quarterfinal only twice — 2012 U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open. But she is back in the top 10 for the first time since ‘08 while battling through back and hip injuries.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI

Age 25, Denmark No. 10 seed Another former
(Credit: AP)

Age 25, Denmark
No. 10 seed
Another former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki has advanced as far as a major-tournament quarterfinal only once — 2012 Australian — since her 2011 U.S. Open semifinal. But she has built some momentum since June’s first-round French Open loss, winning 18 of 22 matches.

VICTORIA AZARENKA

Age 25, Belarus No. 16 seed Twice the
(Credit: AP)

Age 25, Belarus
No. 16 seed
Twice the Australian Open champion and U.S. Open runner-up to Serena Williams the past two years, Victoria Azarenka often is cited as the one player best equipped to defeat Williams. But a series of injuries (foot, knee) have devastated her year and dropped her ranking from 2nd to 17th.

VENUS WILLIAMS

Age 34, United States No. 19 seed The
(Credit: AP)

Age 34, United States No. 19 seed The most recent of Venus Williams' seven major-tournament titles was Wimbledon in 2008, and the second of her two U.S. titles was in 2001. But her No. 20 ranking is her highest in four years, and she plays on as the second-oldest woman in the singles draw.

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