Potapova ousts No. 5 seed Kerber in French Open first round

Reuters

No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber made an early exit as the French Open kicked off Sunday at Roland Garros.

The German was ousted by Russian teen Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-2 in her latest frustrating end on the red clay. Kerber never has

made it past the quarterfinals in 12 attempts at the French Open, the only Grand Slam she hasn't won.

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"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," said Kerber, who was returning from an ankle injury that forced her out of the Madrid Open in the second round.

Kerber played in only one other clay-court warmup -- in Stuttgart -- and lost in the quarterfinal round to Kiki Bertens.

"For me, of course, the (problem) is the movements, the sliding," Kerber said of her difficulty playing on clay. "Also the bounces, how the ball is bouncing, and how to play on clay."

The victory for Potapova, 18, was her first over a top-10 player and it came against one of her idols.

"I was really looking forward for this match, because Kerber, I like her very much," Potapova said. "She's actually one of my idols, and when I was young I was looking for her game, how she's playing.

"When you step in on the court and you know you play your, I would say idol, you've just got to show your best. That helped me. So, yeah, I was fighting for every point."

In other seeded play, 2016 champion and No. 19 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain rallied to beat American Taylor Townsend 5-7, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 seed KarolĂ­na Pliskova beat American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-3; No. 7 seed Sloane Stephens of the U.S. held off Misaki Doi of Japan 6-3, 7-6 (4); No. 9 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine dispatched 2002 French Open champion Venus Williams 6-3, 6-3; No. 15 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland topped Jessika Ponchet of France 6-1, 6-4; and No. 31 seed Petra Martic of Croatia eased past Tunisia's Ons Jabeur 6-1, 6-2. No. 32 seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus and Slovenia's Polona Hercog were tied at one set apiece and at 3-3 in the deciding third set when play was halted for the day.

Among unseeded matchups, Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo outlasted Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-1, 5-7, 6-2; France's Kristina Mladenovic beat compatriot Fiona Ferro 6-3, 7-6 (3); Ukraine's Kateryna Kozlova beat American Bernarda Pera 6-2, 7-6 (5); Germany's Laura Siegemund topped qualifier Sofya Zhuk of Russia 6-3, 6-3; Slovakian qualifier Kristina Kucova beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2; Czech Marketa Vondrousova beat China's Wang Yafan 6-4, 6-3; Sweden's Johanna Larsson topped Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4; and American Jennifer Brady and Slovakia's Ivana Jorovic were tied at one set when play was suspended.

No. 23 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia had been scheduled to face Katie Boulter on Sunday, but the British player withdrew due to a back injury.

Vekic will instead open against Russian qualifier Ludmilla Samsonova on Monday.

--Field Level Media

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