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Leading contenders for the women's singles title

sports Updated: May 26, 2007 16:49 IST

AFP
Highlight Story

Leading contenders for the women's singles title at the French Open.

Justine Henin (Belgium)
World ranking: 1
Date of Birth: June 1, 1982
Birthplace: Lihge, Belgium
Height: 5' 5 3/4" (1.67 m)
Weight: 126 lbs. (57 kg)
Plays: Right-handed: (one-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: January 1, 1999
Career singles titles: 32
Grand Slam singles titles: 5
Career prize money: 14,433,519 dollars
Best French Open result: Winner (2003, 2005, 2006)

Defending French Open champion is aiming for a fourth win in five years here at Roland Garros. She has an obvious liking for the tournament and could easily take another title after wins this year in Warsaw, Doha and Dubai. A recent loss to Kuznetsova in the semi-finals of the German Open though will have reminded her that victory is not a foregone conclusion.

Maria Sharapova (Russia)
World ranking: 2
Date of Birth: April 19, 1987
Birthplace: Nyagan, Siberia, Russia
Height: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Weight: 130 lbs. (59 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: April 19, 2001
Career singles titles: 15
Grand Slam singles titles: 2
Career prize money: 9,048,529 dollars
Best French Open result: Quarter-finals (2004, 2005)

Has been plagued by a shoulder injury this year after reaching the final of the Australian Open to be soundly beaten by Williams. Secured her first win on clay after her comeback this week defeating Tsetvana Pironkova to advance to the quarter-finals of the Istanbul Cup, but it's her least effective surface by far.

Svetlana Kutnetsova (Russia)
World ranking: 3
Residence: St. Petersburg, Russia
Date of Birth: June 27, 1985
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Height: 5' 8 1/2" (1.74 m)
Weight: 161 lbs. (73 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 2000
Career singles titles: 8
Grand Slam singles titles: 1
Career prize money: 6,781,593 dollars
Best French Open result: Runner up (2006)
After beating defending French Open winner Henin to a place in the final at the German Open earlier this month, Kuznetsova looks on form to produce a similar result to last year when she lost to Henin in the final. One of the busiest players on the WTA circuit and one of the most complete.

Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
World ranking: 4
Residence: Bradenton, Florida, USA
Date of Birth: February 28, 1985
Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia
Height: 5'9 1/2" (1.77 m)
Weight: 130 lbs. (59 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 2000
Career singles titles: 4
Grand Slam singles titles: 0
Career prize money: 2,310,030 dollars
Best French Open result: Third round (2006)

Her win in Rome at the weekend has hoisted the volatile Serbian up to a career-high fourth in the world after a busy run of tournament play this year. Prone to bouts of lack of confidence, she reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year and is a good bet to get at least that far in Paris.

Amelie Mauresmo (France)
World ranking: 5
Residence: Geneva, Switzerland
Date of Birth: July 5, 1979
Birthplace: St. Germains en Laye, France
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lbs. (69 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 1993
Career singles titles: 24
Grand Slam singles titles: 2
Career prize money: 13,338,856 dollars
Best French Open result: Quarter-finals (2003, 2004)

Out of action for two months this year due to an appendicitis operation, she failed to make a convincing comeback at the German Open this month, slumping out in the third round. Failed to improve her performance at the Rome Masters, exiting in the second round, and her hopes of finally breaking her Roland Garros jinx look decidely rocky.

Nicole Vaidisova (CZE)
World ranking: 7
Residence: Prague, Czech Republic
Date of Birth: April 23, 1989
Birthplace: Nurnberg, Germany
Height: 6' (1.83m)
Weight: 139 lbs. (63 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 2003
Career singles titles: 6
Grand Slam singles titles: 0
Career prize money: 1,600,726 dollars
Best French Open result: Semi-finals (2006)

Enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2006 highlighted by her run into the semi-finals of last year's French Open where she lost a tight one to Kuznetsova. Has yet to reproduce that form, but at just 18 has time and talent on her side and the German-born Czech player is a good bet to at least reach the last eight.

Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
World ranking: 8
Residence: Basel, Switzerland
Date of Birth: November 6, 1987
Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia
Height: 6' (1.83 m)
Weight: 160 lbs. (73 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: August 2003
Career singles titles: 3
Grand Slam singles titles: 0
Career prize money: 1,616,854 dollars
Best French Open result: Quarter-finals (2005)

Much was expected of the talented Serbian youngster when she exploded onto the international scene last year. But had failed to make much further headway this year until she defeated Kuznetsova to win the German Open earlier this month. It is now time for the 19-year-old to produce the goods in a Grand Slam event.

Serena Williams (USA)
World ranking: 9
Residence: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA
Date of Birth: September 26, 1981
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 135 lbs. (61 kg)
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: September 1995
Career singles titles: 28
Grand Slam singles titles: 8
Career prize money: 17,475,070 dollars
Best French Open result: Winner (2002)

Won the Australian Open in January - her first Grand Slam win since 2005. Also beat Henin to the Miami Masters title in March but was knocked out of the Rome Masters earlier this month by Patty Schnyder. Since her rampaging season in 2002, Williams has failed to find constincency in her form, and has struggled to shake off various injuries. Will be dangerous here if she gets on a run.

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