World No. 1 Angelique Kerber is out of the French Open after a crushing first round defeat at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova.
The German struggled to find any rhythm during the match as she fell 6-2, 6-2 to the World No. 40 in an hour and 23 minutes.
When the draw was made all eyes turned to this match being a potential upset. Kerber came into Roland Garros having only won two matches in the build up, and Makarova was arguably the most dangerous unseeded player in the draw. The German’s fears were soon realized as the Russian came out firing.
Makarova was able to break in the opening game and then again at 3-1 as she raced through the first set. There was some trouble serving it out as Kerber earned two break back points at 5-2, but Makarova held strong to take the first set 6-2.
The top seed was in deep trouble and found herself down a double break early in the second set. Both players struggled on serve throughout the set, and there were five breaks in a row to take us to 5-2. The pressure was now on Makarova to serve the match out and the Russian, who has struggled with nerves in matches before, found it difficult to close out the win. Kerber would earn multiple break back chances but could not convert her chances, and after a grueling final game, Makarova finally closed out the match.
This is the first time a top seed has exited the first round of the French Open, and to many the result was not a shock. Kerber’s poor form leading into the event and the danger Makarova provides led many to believe that an early exit was on the cards for the top seed, and so it happened.
Kerber’s 2017 continues to disappoint, and it appears that her World No. 1 status will be gone sooner rather than later. The German enters a much better part of the season for her with the grass fast approaching. Maybe there she can turn her fortunes around. She clearly needs some serious work to turn her season around, though, as she has lost her opening match in five tournaments so far in 2017.
Makarova moves on to face the winner of Lesia Tsurenko vs Katerina Kozlova in the second round.
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