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French Open 2017 women to watch

Women to watch at the French Open, where play begins Sunday, May 28.

Angelique Kerber

Ranked: 1 Age: 29 Country: Germany 2017 Match
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Tiziana Fabi

Ranked: 1
Age: 29
Country: Germany
2017 Match Record: 19-12
2017 Singles Titles: 0
Career Singles Titles: 10
Major Titles: 2 -- Australian Open ('16), U.S. Open ('16)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-Lost in 1st Round, '15-3rd, '14-4th, '13-4th, '12-QF
Aces: A year ago, came off first Grand Slam title in Australia and promptly exited in first round at Roland Garros. ... In nine French Open appearances, only once made it as far as the quarterfinals.
Topspin: She has never quite been able to get going in the right direction this season, certainly looking little like a No. 1 player, and not much reason to suspect she'll get things straightened out in Paris. One indication of her problems in 2017: an 0-7 record vs. top-20 opponents. She was 24-9 in such matches last season.

Karolina Pliskova

Ranked: 3 Age: 25 Country: Czech Republic 2017
Photo Credit: EPA / Claudio Onorati

Ranked: 3
Age: 25
Country: Czech Republic
2017 Match Record: 27-8
2017 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 5
Major Titles: 0 -- Best: RU, U.S. Open ('16)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-1st, '15-2nd, '14-2nd, '13-1st, '12-1st
Aces: Career record of 2-5 at Roland Garros. ... Leads the WTA this season by a large margin in aces with 221.
Topspin: That terrific serve that carried her to her first Grand Slam final, in New York in September, including a win over Serena Williams, won't be as effective on red clay. Still, she has the strokes to go deep at any major tournament.

Simona Halep

Ranked: 4 Age: 25 Country: Romania 2017 Match
Photo Credit: EPA / Ettore Ferrari

Ranked: 4
Age: 25
Country: Romania
2017 Match Record: 18-6
2017 Singles Titles: 1
Career Singles Titles: 15
Major Titles: 0 -- Best: RU, at French Open ('14)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-4th, '15-2nd, '14-RU, '13-1st, '12-1st
Aces: 12-2 record during European clay-court circuit made her one of favorites heading to Paris, but that was called into doubt by a torn ligament in her right ankle.
Topspin: A smart but streaky player who swings from contending for titles to quick exits. Biggest question mark for her at Roland Garros will be the state of her ankle, because movement is a big part of her game.

Garbine Muguruza

Ranked: 5 Age: 23 Country: Spain 2017 Match
Photo Credit: EPA / Ettore Ferrari

Ranked: 5
Age: 23
Country: Spain
2017 Match Record: 17-10
2017 Singles Titles: 0
Career Singles Titles: 3
Major Titles: 1 -- French Open ('16)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-Won Championship, '15-QF, '14-QF, '13-2nd, '12-Did Not Play
Aces: Defending a major title for the first time. ... Injured her neck at the Italian Open.
Topspin: Speaks openly about dealing with the expectations and pressures of being a Grand Slam champion. Will the lack of confidence she occasionally demonstrates on court be as much of a hindrance as whatever lingering physical problems she might have at Roland Garros?

Elina Svitolina

Ranked: 6 Age: 22 Country: Ukraine 2017 Match
Photo Credit: EPA / Ettore Ferrari

Ranked: 6
Age: 22
Country: Ukraine
2017 Match Record: 31-6
2017 Singles Titles: 4
Career Singles Titles: 8
Major Titles: 0 -- Best: QF, French Open ('15)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-4th, '15-QF, '14-2nd, '13-2nd, '12-DNP
Aces: Leads tour in titles with four, including on red clay at the Italian Open. ... Won French Open junior title at age 15.
Topspin: Among the best returners around -- she ranks third on tour this year, winning 48.4 percent of opponents' service games -- and as in-form as anyone at the moment, she appears to be as likely as anyone to make a breakthrough in Paris.

Johanna Konta

Ranked: 8 Age: 26 Country: Britain 2017 Match
Photo Credit: AP / Lynne Sladky

Ranked: 8
Age: 26
Country: Britain
2017 Match Record: 21-6
2017 Singles Titles: 2
Career Singles Titles: 3
Major Titles: 0 -- Best: SF, Australian Open ('16)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-1st, '15-1st, '14-DNP, '13-DNP, '12-DNP
Aces: Went only 2-3 at Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome this season. ... Among players with 10 or more matches in 2017, ranks No. 1 on tour by winning 80.5 percent of her service games. ... Fifth in total aces with 124.
Topspin: Talented player who was the surprise of last season, but her clay-court game needs work. The slow surface dulls her dangerous serve and she's never won a match in the French Open's main draw.

Venus Williams

Ranked: 11 Age: 36 Country: United States 2017
Photo Credit: AP / Mario Houben

Ranked: 11
Age: 36
Country: United States
2017 Match Record: 17-6
2017 Singles Titles: 0
Career Singles Titles: 49
Major Titles: 7 -- Wimbledon ('00, '01, '05, '07, '08), U.S. Open ('00, '01)
Last 5 French Opens: '16-4th, '15-1st, '14-2nd, '13-1st, '12-2nd
Aces: This will be her 20th appearance at the French Open. ... Tuned up by reaching the quarterfinals in Rome.
Topspin: Hasn't been as far as the quarterfinals in Paris since 2006; was the runner-up to her sister Serena in 2002. But her runner-up finish at the Australian Open in January shows she still can summon up the big hitting that carried her to the top of the game.

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