French Open: Angelique Kerber 1st seed upset; Petra Kvitova avoids 1R exit

Angelique Kerber was the biggest name among the women to fall on the opening day of the 2021 French Open. Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina stunned the 26th seed 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 26 minutes. Kalinina hit 21 winners to Kerber’s 18 and had 32 unforced errors to the German’s 27. The world no. 139 finished with 70 points to the former world no. 1’s 58.

In the second round, Kalinina will face Danielle Collins. The American, who’s making a return to the tour after surgery for endometriosis, posted a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Chinese qualifier Xiyu Wang in their opening round.

Eleventh seed Petra Kvitova fended off a match point against Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen to advance to the second round. The Czech won 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-1 in two hours and 16 minutes. In the opening set, Minnen broke the former world no. 2 early and took a lead in the match. She even served for the set in the 10th game but was broken back by Kvitova. In the tie-break, Minnen once again built an early lead and this time held on long enough to go up one-set-to-love in the match.

The second set played out on similar lines only this time it was Kvitova who failed to serve out the set. Then, in the 12th game, while trying to stay in the match, a forced error off Kvitova’s racquet brought up a match point for Minnen but Kvitova saved it with a winner. The tie-break went Kvitova’s way as the deciding set in which the two-time Major champion raced away with the match and its momentum into the next round.

In the second round, Kvitova will play Elena Vesnina. The Russian defeated lucky loser Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-1, 6-0 in merely 58 minutes.

Paula Badosa, the 33rd seed, defeated Lauren Davis 6-2, 7-6(3) in an hour and 40 minutes in the first round. The Spaniard, who won the title in Belgrade a couple of weeks back, will now face Danka Kovinic in the second round. The Montenegrin ousted French wildcard Clara Burel 6-3, 7-6(8) in their opener.

French Open: Aryna Sabalenka’s ruthlessness continues

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka made quick work of Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh in their first-round clash. The Belarusian needed just 75 minutes to clinch a 6-4, 6-3 win against Konjuh in what had been one of the most interesting openers at this year’s Roland Garros. The third seed will take on either French wildcard Diane Parry or fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich for a place in the third round.

Another French wildcard Elsa Jacquemot also suffered a loss in the opening round. Elena Rybakina, the Kazakh 21st seed won this match-up 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 21 minutes. Rybakina will now play Nao Hibino of Japan in the second round. Hibino ousted Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic 7-6(4), 6-2 in their opening-round clash.

Veronika Kudermetova also reached the second round after a 7-6(5), 6-1 defeat of Amanda Anisimova. In the second round, the 29th seed from Russia will play a Czech player in either Marie Bouzkova or Katerina Siniakova.

Another Russian, the 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also made it to the round-of-64 with a 6-4, 6-0 win against Anisimova’s compatriot Christina McHale. In the second round, Pavlyuchenkova will play Australian Ajla Tomljanovic who won 6-2, 6-4 against Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova.

Lastly, Clara Tauson also came through her opener at the French Open. The Dane defeated Georgian qualifier Ekaterina Gorgodze 6-4, 6-2. In the second round, Tauson will play either former world no. 1, the 15th seed Victoria Azarenka or 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Photo Credit: Roland Garros Twitter

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