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French Open: Kerber Stunned by Makarova; Kvitova Makes Winning Return

Petra Kvitova swept to a tearful French Open victory on Sunday in her first match since surviving a horrifying knife attack which almost ended her career.

AFP

Updated:May 28, 2017, 8:39 PM IST
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French Open: Kerber Stunned by Makarova; Kvitova Makes Winning Return
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World number one Angelique Kerber was dumped out of the French Open on Sunday, going down 6-2 6-2 in a first-round defeat to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova.

The German became the first top seeded woman to lose in the opening round of the French Open since the sport went professional in 1968.

After briefly threatening a recovery in the eighth game, in which she held two break points, Kerber meekly surrendered the first set with a forehand that never looked like clearing the net.

The German dropped serve in the next game, with Makarova hitting four clean forehand winners to take a hold on the match that she rarely looked like relinquishing.

Petra Kvitova swept to a tearful French Open victory on Sunday in her first match since surviving a horrifying knife attack which almost ended her career.

The two-time Wimbledon champion downed outclassed Julia Boserup of the United States 6-3, 6-2, falling to her knees in celebration before weeping at the net.

"I'm really glad to have made the decision to play here," said 27-year-old Kvitova, who was seriously hurt when she tackled an armed intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December.

Want To Forget the Clay Court Season, Says Kerber

"Thank you for everything, you helped me through this difficult time.

"I won the match today but I knew I had already won," she added in reference to the initial nightmare scenario in which she feared she'd lose the fingers on her left playing hand.

Kvitova, the 15th seed and a semi-finalist in Roland Garros in 2012, fired nine aces and 31 winners past Boserup, making her debut at the tournament at the age of 25.

Czech star Kvitova will face Bethanie Mattek-Sands or Evgeniya Rodina in the next round.

Timea Bacsinszky, the Swiss 30th seed who made the semi-finals two years ago, was also an early winner, seeing off Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 6-2.

Olympic champion Monica Puig sent veteran Italian Roberta Vinci to her 10th first round loss in 13 visits to Paris, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Serena Williams may be missing from this year's French Open, but big sister Venus is still going strong and marks her Roland Garros 20th anniversary on Sunday.

Three weeks shy of her 37th birthday, the American star, who made her debut in the French capital in 1997, kicks off her latest campaign against China's Wang Qiang.

Nine months old

Williams, seeded 10, has played every year since 1997 with the exception of 2011 and despite her senior citizen status, she is still a contender at the Slams as her run to the Australian Open final in January proved.

Her staggering longevity is illustrated by the fact that her potential second round opponent is compatriot Amanda Anisimova who, at just 15, is the youngest main draw competitor since 2005.

When Venus was losing the 2002 Roland Garros final to Serena, Anisimova was just nine months old.

"I'm here as I still have a lot to give. That just wraps it up," said Venus, who has never got beyond the quarter-finals in Paris since her runners-up spot 15 years ago.

Anisimova, the Florida-based daughter of Russian parents, made the tournament courtesy of winning the US wild card play-off.

She faces Japan's world number 94 Kurumi Nara on Sunday.

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| Edited by: Arjit Dabas
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