Commentary

Will Woz bounce back from Stuttgart?

Updated: May 1, 2011, 12:08 PM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

Caroline Wozniacki seems to be doing more of everything nowadays -- playing, training and socializing. She'll hope it's the formula that leads to a title in Madrid and maiden Grand Slam triumph with Roland Garros fast approaching. No Serena, Kim or Venus diminishes the star power in the women's field.

Here's a glance at each of the top eight seeds:

No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki went to soccer's Champions League game between host Real Madrid and its despised rival, Barcelona, on Wednesday, saying she wished tennis could produce a similar atmosphere. Play tennis in an 80,000-seat stadium, allow singing during points and we're there.

The Dane didn't enjoy the Stuttgart final very much, outslugged by new darling Julie Goerges. Wozniacki could encounter Goerges or Dinara Safina in the third round.

Only one player can trouble Wozniacki in the quarterfinals -- Samantha Stosur.

No. 2 Vera Zvonareva

Now that Sergei Demekhine is no longer Zvonareva's coach, he can become one of the ball people in Madrid. A former model, he'd fit in.

Without Demekhine, Zvonareva needed three sets to eliminate veteran Patty Schnyder on Saturday. Zvonareva will have to be much sharper in the second round if meeting Elena Vesnina.

No. 3 Francesca Schiavone

Skipping her beloved Fed Cup to focus on her French Open defense, losing her opener -- and badly -- to Agnieszka Radwanska in Stuttgart isn't what the little Italian had in mind.

She beat first-round challenger Peng Shuai, one of the tour's most consistent performers, in two hours. One round further, fellow Italian Sara Errani, a clay-court grinder, looms.

No. 4 Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka, who joined BFF Wozniacki at the Real Madrid game, says her shoulder is feeling better after rehab. She certainly didn't have any problems Saturday, feeding Vera Dushevina a double bagel.

Azarenka has won her past 13 completed matches, so she'll be the substantial favorite against Sofia Arvidsson.

How about an Azarenka-Radwanska quarterfinal?

No. 5 Samantha Stosur

Stosur found relief in Stuttgart, reaching the semifinals for the first time in 2011. She needs more wins in Madrid to maintain the momentum.

Having topped the ever-dangerous Gisela Dulko in the first round, it appears to be smooth sailing until the quarterfinals.

And Stosur has the game to hit through Wozniacki.

No. 6 Li Na

Winning a round in Stuttgart counts as progress for Li; she's lost every other match since the Australian Open.

Here's an opportunity to build on that result. Clay isn't Li's preferred surface, yet the faster conditions will suit her. And her matches through to the quarterfinals, at least, could be a lot harder.

No. 7 Jelena Jankovic

Jankovic is struggling against the better players, evidenced by a six-match losing streak against top 25 opponents. She won't have an easy second rounder -- battling either Anabel Medina Garrigues or Lucie Safarova.

Radwanska, a top-25 player, is likely waiting in the third round.

No. 8 Maria Sharapova

Sharapova is making progress, appearing in the Indian Wells semis and Miami final. Last year, Sharapova had an uplifting clay-court season -- a first-round loss in Madrid the exception.

The signs are good as Sharapova embarks on this year's dirt journey. She won her opener in three sets and ousting Yanina Wickmayer and Dominika Cibulkova, two feisty competitors, in potential second- and third-round matches, will be hard work. Yet if she gets past that, a spot in the final isn't out of reach.

She's in the right half of the draw.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.