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Five Women to Watch at the 2010 US Open

From left to right, with seed in parens: Alona Bondarenko (29), Elena Dementieva (12), Daniela Hantuchova (24), Maria Kirilenko (23), Ana Ivanovic (none).

The Us Open field will certainly be hurt by the absence of No. 1-ranked Serena Williams. Also not helping the cause – lack of US talent. There’s only one American seeded in the Top 32 (Venus Williams). Maria Sharapova, perhaps the 2nd most recognizable name in the field after Venus, hasn’t been to a Grand Slam final since the Australian Open in early 2008. We’ll go with the safe pick and project Venus as the champ. She reached the semifinals of the Open in 2008, but hasn’t won it since 2001.

Other female tennis players to watch for this week:

Bondarenko. Remember her tie-break against Ivanovic last year at the Open?

Dementieva. Reached the finals of two majors in 2004, but hasn’t been back since. Still she’s popular for other reasons.

Hantuchova has a first-round test against Dinara Safina. We’ll be rooting for Hantuchova, another SI Swimsuit veteran.

Kirilenko (no relation to the Utah Jazz small forward) is most famous for her appearance in the SI Swimsuit issue.

Ivanovic needs no introduction. We’ve blogged about her extensively. For obvious reasons.

(Would have been included, but they aren’t in the field – Ashley Harkleroad, who posed for Playboy in 2008; Nicole Vaidisova, who retired in March at the age of 20.)

[Photos: Getty]

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