AN­GELIQUE MAKES UN­WANTED HISTORY

World No 1 be­comes first top seed to lose Roland Gar­ros opener

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AN­GELIQUE Ker­ber be­came the first top seed to lose in the open­ing round at Roland Gar­ros yes­ter­day as tear­ful Pe­tra Kvi­tova swept to vic­tory in her first match since sur­viv­ing a knife at­tack which al­most ended her ca­reer.

Ger­man World No 1 An­gelique dropped serve six times on her way to a 6-2, 6-2 de­feat to Rus­sia’s Eka­te­rina Makarova.

Be­fore this year, the ear­li­est ex­its suf­fered by a top seed in Paris came in the sec­ond round — Jus­tine Henin in 2004 and Ser­ena Wil­liams in 2014.

“The pres­sure is al­ways there es­pe­cially in the big tour­na­ments and the Grand Slams,” said An­gelique, who won her first ma­jor at the Aus­tralian Open in 2016.

“Now I have to find to my­self again and just try to for­get the clay court sea­son as soon as pos­si­ble and then re­set from the grass courts.”

Eka­te­rina, a for­mer semi-fi­nal­ist at the Aus­tralian and US Opens said: “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,”

It was the sec­ond suc­ces­sive first round exit at Roland Gar­ros for An­gelique, the reign­ing US Open cham­pion — last year, she fell to un­seeded Kiki Bertens of the Nether­lands.

It also con­tin­ued a mis­er­able spell for the 29-year-old on clay in 2017.

She lost her opener in Stuttgart where she was the de­fend­ing cham­pion, suf­fered a thigh in­jury in the third round in Madrid and lost first time out in Rome.

An­gelique’s de­feat makes the women’s draw even more open with Ser­ena Wil­liams, Maria Shara­pova and Vic­to­ria Azarenka all not play­ing.

Two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra out­classed Ju­lia Boserup of the United States 63, 6-2, fall­ing to her knees in cel­e­bra­tion in the mo­ment of vic­tory be­fore weep­ing at the net.

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

“I won the match to­day but I knew I had al­ready won,” she added in ref­er­ence to the ini­tial night­mare sce­nario in which she feared she’d lose the fin­gers on her left play­ing hand.

Pe­tra, the 15th seed and a semi-fi­nal­ist in Roland Gar­ros in 2012, fired nine aces and 31 win­ners past Ju­lia, mak­ing her de­but at the tour­na­ment at the age of 25.

Olympic cham­pion Mon­ica Puig sent vet­eran Ital­ian Roberta Vinci to her 10th first round loss in 13 vis­its to Paris, win­ning 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Madi­son Bren­gle of the US de­feated Ger­many’s Ju­lia Go­erges, who hit 79 win­ners but 90 un­forced er­rors, 1-6, 6-3, 13-11 in a tie stretch­ing to al­most three hours.

RE­SULTS — 1st rd, Men: Guillermo Gar­cía-López (Spa) bt Gilles Muller (Lux) 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (27), 6-2, 6-2; Pablo Car­reño-Busta (Spa) bt Flo­rian Mayer (Ger) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2; Taro Daniel (Jpn) bt Jerzy Janow­icz (Pol) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Grigor Dim­itrov (Bul) bt Stéphane Robert (Fra) 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Ho­ra­cio Ze­bal­los (Arg) bt Adrian Man­nar­ino (Fra) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4; Benjamin Bonzi (Fra) bt Daniil Medvedev (Rus) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 rtd; Al­bert Ramos (Spa) bt Mar­ius Copil (Rom) 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Women: Eka­te­rina Makarova (Rus) bt An­gelique Ker­ber (Ger) 6-2, 6-2; Je­lena Ostapenko (Lat) bt Louisa Chirico (US) 4-6, 6-3, 62; Mónica Puig (Pur) bt Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; Pe­tra Kvi­tova (Cze) bt Ju­lia Boserup (US) 6-3, 6-2; Svet­lana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt Christina McHale (US) 75, 6-4; Shelby Rogers (US) bt Ma­rina Erakovic (NZ) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Timea Bac­sin­szky (Swi) bt Sara Sor­ribes (Spa) 6-1, 6-2; Madi­son Bren­gle (US) bt Ju­lia Go­erges (Ger) 1-6, 6-3, 13-11. AFP

AP PIC

Eka­te­rina Makarova re­turns a shot to An­gelique Ker­ber in their first round of the French Open yes­ter­day. Eka­te­rina won 6-2, 6-2.

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