Top seed Angelique Kerber knocked out of French Open in first round


Kerber, 29, has struggled this year, withdrawing from the Madrid Open with a thigh injury and going down in straight sets to qualifier Anna Kontaveit in Rome.

Cutting a troubled figure on court a world away from the feisty player who last season battled her way to two grand slam titles, Kerber lacked the pace and power to trouble a fellow left-hander.

A victorius Ekaterina Makarova, left, shakes hands with Angelique Kerber.

Kerber won the Australian Open and US Open titles a year ago and also reached the final at Wimbledon.

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There was nothing positive for Kerber to take from her 6-2 6-2 loss to Ekaterina Makarova as she became the first top seed in the women's draw to lose in the opening round at Roland Garros in the Open era. "That's unbelievable", she said. This also marks the second consecutive year in which the German player has been bounced from the tournament in the first round.

Russian Makarova, ranked 40, won five of the first six games and, although she came under more pressure in the second set, she kept Kerber at arm's length.

"At the end of the match, it was really tough as I knew she wouldn't give it to me - I had to win it".

Four successive breaks of serve followed before Makarova saved seven break points in the crucial eighth game to cause the upset.

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Before Kerber's loss, though, the sport got its feel-good story of the year, as Petra Kvitova was the first victor of the day, playing shockingly well in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Julia Boserup.

"I'm really glad to have made the decision to play here", said 27-year-old Kvitova, who was seriously hurt when she fought off a knife-wielding burglar at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December.

The loss opens up the French Open to others such as Simona Halep. The 31st-seeded Vinci, most famous for ending Williams' hopes of a calendar year Grand Slam by beating her in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows in 2015, lost to Rio Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

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