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Five to watch in the Ladies' Singles

Venus Williams wins her first round match at Roland Garros.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Thursday 21 June 2012

Which ladies outside the top 10 might give the big guns a run for their money?

Venus Williams: For the first time since 1997, which was the year she made her debut at the All England Club, the Californian finds herself unseeded. Venus has won five Wimbledon titles, and played in all-Williams finals with her younger sister Serena. But, if the tennis gods are in a mischievous mood, we could up up with an all-Williams first-round match, with Venus and Serena playing for the prize of a place in the last 64.

Sabine Lisicki: It took Maria Sharapova to stop her at last year's Championships. The German beat Li Na on the way to reachig the semi-finals. Lisicki used to hate grass. And she's still allergic to it (don't be alarmed if you see her sneezing between points). But now she loves it.

Kim Clijsters: So Venus Williams is not the only former world No 1 and grand slam champion who is unseeded at this tournament. Clijsters, who will be playing her last Wimbledon, will be attempting to become the first mother to win the title since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. “I’ve seen Evonne around and spoken to her,” said Clijsters. “It’s been nice to get to know her. I’ve spoken to her about what it was like winning Wimbledon as a mother. She said, ‘yeah, you should do it – you go out and play and if you lose, you lose, and you’re home taking care of the kid’. That’s how I feel. Everyone asks me what my schedule is. Okay, there are days when it’s hard but you just do it.”

Tsvetana Pironkova: The grass of the All England Club has often brought out the best in the Bulgarian. She was a semi-finalist in 2010 (she lost to Russia's Vera Zvonareva) and last summer she was a quarter-finalist (she lost in three sets to the eventual champion, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic).

Melanie Oudin: The American arrived at the All England Club with a wild card in her racket-bag and with a head full of happy thoughts after she won the AEGON Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

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