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Busted Racquet

Ten women’s players who will have an impact at the French Open

Busted Racquet

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sam stosur serving clay 11

The French Open draw will be released Friday afternoon. Before it is, Busted Racquet looks at 10 players who will have an impact in the year's second Grand Slam.

The six who can win

1. Sam Stosur

2. Kim Clijsters

3. Maria Sharapova

4. Victoria Azarenka

5. Li Na

6. Petra Kvitova

7. Julia Goerges

This tournament is wide open, but it has nothing to do with the absence of Venus and Serena Williams. There hasn't been a Williams sister in the semifinals at Roland Garros since 2003. Frankly, given Clijsters' injury and the uncertainty at the top of the rankings, the list could be much longer. Stosur didn't have the best winter but has returned to form of late. Clijsters is always a threat, no matter her lack of preparation. Sharapova looked good in Rome, though the same concerns remain about her serve. It's one thing to keep it going for five matches. Can she do it for seven? Li Na is back on track after Murraying after Melbourne. And Kvitova and her heavy forehand are my tentative pick while the up-and-coming Goerges seems poised to breakout in a Slam sometime soon. Why not now?

The two who could but won't

1. Caroline Wozniacki

2. Francesca Schiavone

Counting out the world No. 1 and the defending champion? Not exactly. After losses to Andrea Petkovic, Goerges and Sharapova in which her opponents countered her defensive play with big-hitting aggressiveness, Wozniacki is vulnerable. The book seems to be out on her. She has the talent to win a Slam and I think she will, soon. Not this one, though. As for Schiavone, it's hard enough to repeat (only Justine Henin has done so since 1996). For unexpected winners, it's nearly impossible, as Anastasia Myskina, Iva Majoli, Sue Barker and Mima Jaušovec can attest.

The wildcard

1. Vera Zvonareva

There's an ongoing debate about whether it's fair to keep bringing up Vera Zvonareva's on-court emotional issues. The argument against bringing it up is that she made back-to-back Grand Slam finals. The counter: She cried on the court after one of those (during the doubles final at Wimbledon). I asked whether those questions become annoying (an annoying question in itself, I'm sure) and she confirmed. Here's the thing, though: It may be annoying, but it's not unfair. It's unfair to ask Novak Djokovic about retiring from matches because he hasn't done it in so long. It's not unfair to ask the same of Victoria Azarenka, who drops out of matches like it's part of her routine. It's not unfair to ask Vera whether she's emotional on the court. I mention this now because Vera has won 14 games in her last three Grand Slam losses, including the 6-2, 6-1 drubbing from Kim Clijsters in the final of the U.S. Open. She's shown she can get through the early rounds without issue. What happens if she goes deep at Roland Garros? If those losses are still with her, we know how it'll end. If they're not, Vera is as good a bet as any.

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