Open season for mademoiselles

Updated on May 24, 2009 12:45 AM IST

An air of uncertainty surrounds the women's event at next week's French Open, with many of the would-be favourites going into the tournament struggling for form and fitness.

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An air of uncertainty surrounds the women's event at next week's French Open, with many of the would-be favourites going into the tournament struggling for form and fitness.

World number two and perennial Grand Slam contender Serena Williams has won the last two majors but hasn't tasted victory on clay in a year and pulled out of her first round match at last week's Madrid Masters with a knee injury. And the Williams sisters don’t seem a big force on clay.

World no 1 Dinara Safina's path looks smooth until a possible quarter-final clash with holder Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, her executioner in last year's final.

Russian Safina, chasing her first grand slam title, will start her campaign against unheralded Anne Keothavong of Britain.
Maria Sharapova, back from a nine-month injury layoff, faces Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus in the first round.

A year after entering the Paris tournament as world number one, she will start her campaign unseeded and could take on compatriot Nadia Petrova, seeded 11th, in the second round.

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