French Open 2019: Fifth seed Angelique Kerber suffers first-round defeat against teenager Anastasia Potapova

Three-time Grand Slam champion is knocked out in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to suffer early exit as her Roland Garros misery continues

Samuel Petrequin
Sunday 26 May 2019 12:31 BST
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Angelique Kerber won't complete a career Grand Slam this year.

Still hampered by a right ankle injury, the three-time Grand Slam winner lost in the first round of the French Open on Sunday as the clay-court major began with an upset.

The fifth-seeded German lost 6-4, 6-2 to an 18-year-old Roland Garros beginner, Russian Anastasia Potapova, on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Kerber's preparations for Roland Garros, where she never advanced past the quarterfinals, were hampered by the injury she suffered at the Madrid Open last month.

"Of course this is not my excuse and everything," Kerber said. "I tried my best. I know that there is still a little bit of work to do to be really playing matches 100 per cent."

The 81st-ranked Potapova sealed the opening set with a crosscourt backhand winner and broke twice at the start of the second. Kerber saved two match points before shanking a forehand wide sealing her fate.

"The clay season is over now for me. Yeah, I'm happy about that, that I can now look forward to playing on grass," added Kerber, who won the Australian Open and US Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2018.

Potapova celebrates her first round victory over Kerber at the French Open

Among other seeded players in action, 2016 champion and 19th-seeded Garbine Muguruza advanced to the second round with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Taylor Townsend at the tournament's newest stadium, Court Simonne Mathieu. No. 11-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia defeated Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-3, 7-5, 6-1.

AP

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