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Grand Slam dream dies for fifth seed Kerber after shock first round French Open exit

The reigning Wimbledon champion was beaten by world number 81, Anastasia Potapova.

Updated May 26th 2019, 1:51 PM

GERMAN FIFTH SEED and reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was knocked out of Roland Garros in the first round on Sunday by Russian world number 81 Anastasia Potapova.

France Tennis French Open Angelique Kerber suffered a shock first round defeat at Roland Garros this morning. Source: Michel Euler

Kerber, bidding to complete a career Grand Slam, slumped to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat to the 18-year-old who was making her Paris debut.

The 31-year-old had come into Roland Garros carrying a right ankle injury which forced her to pull out of the Italian Open and retire from her second round tie in Madrid.

Kerber is without a WTA Tour title this season and has still not been past the quarter-finals at the French Open.

“I had a lot of confidence and I have to thank my coach for that,” said Potapova who hit 28 winners past her German opponent who has now lost six times in the French Open first round.

“I was just speechless. I didn’t know what to say and what to do, but, yes, I was so happy at that moment, and I’m still so happy.

“I live for this win, for these emotions, for these moments. I’m going to do everything to live it through again and again and again.”

The Russian said she had looked up to Kerber, 13 years her senior, as a child.

“I was really looking forward for this match, because Kerber, I like her very much. She’s actually one of my idols, and when I was young I was looking for her game, how she’s playing,” said Potapova, the 2016 junior Wimbledon champion.

“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.”

Potapova’s first win over a top 10 player gives her a second round clash against either China’s Wang Yafan or Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

© – AFP 2019

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