Two former No. 1s and Grand Slam champions fell on the first day of the French Open.
Three-time champion Angelique Kerber was clobbered in the first match on Chatrier by 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-2.
Kerber, who was iffy to even play the event after suffering an ankle injury earlier this month in Madrid. The German missed events, missed practice and it showed today as the young Russian took it to the 3-time slam winner.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but I tried everything the last two weeks to be here to play a match, and I was happy about the process the last days, but at the end, I didn’t have real match practice,” Kerber said.
“At the end I really didn’t have too much expectation for this tournament.”
Kerber’s third first round loss in Paris in the last four years was Potapova’s gain.
“I live for this win, for these emotions and these moments,” Potapova said. “I’m going to do everything to experience it again and again and again.
“I don’t want to think about future. I want to think about every point, every game. And the only thing what I can think about now, it’s my next round. It’s the second round. And what’s gonna happen, nice. If I’m going to win it, great. But I want to keep focused on myself, on my health, and just stay with a clear mind.”
Later, 7-time Slam winner Venus Williams was shown the exits by Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3. Both players had struggled on the clay with Svitolina recovering from a knee issue. But a match expected to be the best on the schedule was a dud. Venus had a break lead in the second before Svitolina won the last five games.
“I was just trying to focus on things that I can control,” Svitolina said. “There’s nothing more that I was thinking about. I know it was not easy. But for me, it was just the motivation for me to get straight into the tournament, to have a mindset straight on. You know, I had no time to lose from the first point.
“And I think Venus is sometimes playing unbelievable, and I had to accept and move forward. So that’s why it got me straight into fighting mindset, and I think helped me today to go through this match.”
2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens rolled as did Rome champ Karolina Pliskova. A winner three years ago, Garbine Muguruza had to did out of a hole to beat Taylor Townsend 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
The tournament also lost one former champion as Svetlana Kuznetsova was knocked out by Kristina Kucova 6-4, 6-2.
On Monday, 3-time champion Serena Williams is back on the main stage where she’ll face Russian Vitalia Diatchenko. Caroline Wozniacki, Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova will also see action.
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