Kerber's nightmare season hits new low with French Open pummeling

Carla Harmon
May 31, 2017

Kerber, a first-round loser past year as well, barely figured among the favourites on the eve of the tournament.

The two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, now ranked World No.40, came into the event as one of the most risky floaters in the women's draw based on pedigree, and proved it against the top seed - the Russian struck 26 winners in 16 games, served at 73 percent, and broke Kerber six times. Leading 5-2 into her service, Makarova sealed the victory with a powerful forehand to deny Kerber's quest for the Suzanne Lenglen trophy. It's the latest in a string of early exits for Kerber, who reached her first three major finals in 2016. "There are a few things to improve but what can I expect after such a long time".

"If you are losing, it's always tough to (enjoy) the game", Kerber said.

The year's second Grand Slam tournament started on the red clay of Roland Garros under a partly cloudy sky Sunday, with Kvitova getting things going in the main stadium in a first-round match against 86th-ranked Julie Boserup of the United States.

"Normally I can move very well, but on clay it's always a little bit different and hard for me".

"Winning matches, I think this is also important".

"This year the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments... and the expectations are also from me really big, of course, because I know what I can do". I have to find myself again and try to forget the clay season as soon as possible, and reset for the grass season again.

"For the first time in nine years at Roland Garros, I played my singles on (Court) Philippe Chatrier", Makarova said on-court after the one hour, 22-minute match.

"It's a special day and total different emotions", the Russian player commented on beating the world's top player.

"I really was a (Pete) Sampras fan, to tell you the truth", he said. "But it happened. I just went there and was fighting and tried to show my good tennis", she added. The two-time Grand Slam champion suffered a lopsided loss against Ekaterina Makarova in the opening round of the French Open.

On a more encouraging note, Petra Kvitova pulled off a convincing routing of Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-2 on her return from a devastating injury.

In one of the best feel good sports stories of the month, Czech Petra Kvitova, less than six months after suffering a knife attack at home, was back in the big time.

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