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Women's top seed Kerber shocked by Makarova in French Open first round

(Xinhua)    10:21, May 29, 2017

Angelique Kerber of Germany became the first women's top seed to crash out from French Open's first round in Open Era as she was stunned by Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the 2017 edition here on Sunday.

"She plays a good match. It's a tough first round. I had a few chances in both sets, but I didn't make them. That's the key to this match," said Kerber, adding that slow movement on clay was to blame for her stunning loss.

"On clay I'm not feeling so good especially on my movement. Normally I can move well, but on clay, it's always different and difficult for me. I think that's the most important (for my loss)," she said.

Kerber led 7-4 against Makarova in previous meetings, while displaying lackluster performance in clay season this year as she just had a personal best of last 16.

Kerber failed to withstand the strong forehand and backhand attack from her opponent as she lost the first set 6-2 in 38 minutes.

Makarova nailed three games in a row into the second set, before Kerber broke in the fourth game in an unfamiliar manner. Leading 5-2 into her service, Makarova sealed the victory with a powerful forehand to deny Kerber's quest for the Suzanne Lenglen trophy.

Kerber could also face a challenge of losing her top position on WTA world rankings if second-seeded Karolina Pliskova managed to make into the final.

"There is much bigger expectation this year, especially in the big tournament and Grand Slams. I have to find myself again and try to forget the clay season as soon as possible, and reset for the grass season again.

"Now I have a little bit more time to think about what we will do in the next few weeks, and how I prepare for the grass season," said Kerber.

Makarova outscored 27-16 in winners, and suffered six less unforced errors than the top seed.

"It's a special day and total different emotions," the Russian player commented on beating the world's top player.

"I didn't think that I will play No. 1. But it happened. I just went there and was fighting and tried to show my good tennis," she added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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