World No 1 Kerber knocked out of French Open

Angelique Kerber has not been playing at all like someone ranked No 1 this season, and on Sunday she became the first woman seeded No 1 to lose in the French Open's first round in the professional era.

The German has been badly out of form in 2017, despite sitting at the top of the rankings, and the only surprise about her 6-2 6-2 loss to Ekaterina Makarova was the magnitude of it.

Kerber gave credit to Makarova, while also admitting clay courts are not her strongest to play on.

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

Kvitova, who is returning from a lengthy lay-off after a harrowing knife attack at her home in December, defeated 6-3, 6-2 in a match that lasted for one hour and 33 minutes.

Kvitova, the 15th seed and a semi-finalist in 2012, fired nine aces and 31 winners past Boserup, making her Paris debut at the age of 25.

The 29-year-old admits it hasn't been easy to enjoy herself on court these days, and that the problem is both technical and mental.

"But right now I think that I have to find to myself again and just trying to forgot the clay court season as soon as possible and then reset and starting from the grass courts again". "I felt a few times the racquet wasn't really in my hand strongly. but I think if I'm going to practice more my hand will improve and will be better and better".

"It felt great. So I'm glad it's still there, still in the mind, still in the hand", said Kvitova, whose team all wore matching t-shirts bearing the words "courage" and "belief". Kerber's loss places her game in question. "But it happened. I just went there and was fighting and tried to show my good tennis", she added.

The unsafe Makarova took full advantage of Kerber's lack of confidence on clay, wrapping up victory by a comfortable margin.

"There is much bigger expectation this year, especially in the big tournament and Grand Slams".

"Of course it's a special day and a special moment and total different emotions", said Makarova, who next plays Lesia Tsurenko.

Meanwhile, American Venus Williams beat China's Wang Qiang 6-4 7-6 (7-3) on the 20th anniversary of her debut at Roland Garros. Everyone who helped me through the hard time.

  • Julie Sanders