Published: Tue, May 30, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Kerber out to find elusive love for French Open clay

Kerber out to find elusive love for French Open clay

Angelique Kerber became the first women's top seed in the Open era to lose in the opening round of the French Open on Sunday.

Although her defeat might have been a shock in terms of rankings, with Russia's Makarova at number 40 in the WTA standings, it was no great surprise.

Kerber is not performing to the standards usually associated with the highest ranked player in the game after she won her first two Grand Slam titles at the Australian and US Opens previous year.

Makarova won out 6-2 6-2 in just one hour and 22 minutes Sunday, racking up six breaks of serve in the process.

She has not yet defeated a top 20 opponent this year, and while she has reached one final so far this season, she lost that one to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Monterrey.

The only seed she may have to face is recent Strasbourg champion Samantha Stosur, who will face Kristina Kucova in her first match tonight. - Kvitova, who beat Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-2 in her first match since being stabbed during an attack at her home in December. When it came to the decisive points, Kerber's game lacked the cutting edge to make the difference, falling 1-5 behind in the first set.

A year ago in December, Kvitova suffered severe injuries to her playing hand after she was attacked by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in Czech Republic.

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Cutting a troubled figure on court a world away from the feisty baseliner who last season battled her way to two Grand Slam titles, Kerber lacked the pace and power to trouble her fellow left-hander. "I'm really glad that we made this decision that I'm going to play here", Kvitova told the crowd during an on-court interview.

"Right now I think that I have to find to myself again and just trying to forgot the claycourt season as soon as possible", she said.

Australian Open semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was upset 6-3 6-3 by Turkey's Cagla Buyukakcay while 15-year-old American Amanda Anisimova was beaten on her grand slam debut, losing 3-6 7-5 6-4 to Kurumi Nara.

There was better news for Petra Kvitova, who made a winning return to competitive tennis in the day's opening contest following five months out.

Prior to this Kerber loss, the earliest a top seed exited the French Open since 1968 was in the second round.

The first of the matches not to be missed sees the No.6 seed Dominic Thiem take on Australia's Bernard Tomic in the first round of Roland Garros.

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