ANGELIQUE MAKES UNWANTED HISTORY
World No 1 becomes first top seed to lose Roland Garros opener
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
Ekaterina Makarova returns a shot to Angelique Kerber in their first round of the French Open yesterday. Ekaterina won 6-2, 6-2.