June 2019
2:32 AM IST
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Fifth-seeded Kerber stunned in French Open opening round
Paris: Women''s singles No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany suffered an early exit from the French Open after losing to Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-2 in the first round here on Sunday. In her first Roland Garros appearance, the 81st-ranked Potapova, 18, won 82% on first serve, nearly 30 percent more than her German opponent, and led winners 28-16. She kicked off the 2019 edition of the most prestigious tournament on clay in a stunning manner, registering her first career top 10 victory.

"I was trying to keep some focus on myself, on how I''m playing and running. Not trying to think a lot about the court, about the first round, about Kerber," Potapova commented. Kerber was dealt with a huge blow in quest for completing a career Grand Slam following victories in the 2016 Australian Open and US Open, and 2018 Wimbledon. The Russian continued her momentum following a 6-4 opening set victory to take four games in a row into the second set. Kerber, who had withdrawn in Madrid due to a right ankle injury, cut the deficit to 4-2 afterwards, but failed to come closer and crashed out from the competition with a forehand sailing wide in the eighth game.

"Of course I''m disappointed, but I tried everything in the last two weeks to be here to play a match," admitted Kerber. "She has nothing to lose. I know how the feeling is to go on court trying the best. She really played well today," the German added. Potapova will face the winner between China''s Wang Yafan and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the second round.

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