Upset! Kerber 1st French Open top seed to lose in 1st round

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Paris: World No. 1 Angelique Kerber's nightmare season hit a new low on Sunday when, with expectations weighing heavily after a stellar 2016, she was dumped out of the French Open 6-2, 6-2 by 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova.

Makarova, now ranked 40 after reaching a career high of eight, was a double break ahead again for 3-0 in the second set.

But since winning at Flushing Meadows the German has struggled to maintain those heights and she has played just one final this year.

Makarova is now the first woman in the Open Era to beat a top seed in the Roland Garros first round. 12 months ago, she crashed out in three sets to unseeded Dutch right-hander Kiki Bertens.

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Makarova found tons of success on Kerber's serve, running out to an easy 6-2, 6-2 win.

It was her first match for the season after she had suffered a career-threatening left hand injury during a robbery in her apartment prior to Christmas a year ago. In a way, her premature exit from Roland Garros might be a bit of a relief for Kerber, who can now switch her focus to the grass, where she made the Wimbledon final past year.

"I didn't think that I will play No 1". "This year, I mean, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams".

Venus Williams began her record 20th Roland Garros campaign by beating Wang Qiang of China, while Svetlana Kuznetsova toppled Christina McHale and Dominika Cibulkova easily saw off the challenge of Lara Arruabarrena.

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Kerber has seen no upturn in form on the clay courts, suffering early exits in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome, and her best return at Roland Garros was in 2012 when she reached the quarter-finals. She can likely say goodbye to her number one WTA ranking, depending on how the rest of the French Open goes. I heard it was 5-4, and then I was just serving for the match. "And just, you know, going out and trying to find my game", she said.

Puig won 6-3, 3-6 and 6-2 over Vinci in an hour and 50 minutes while the 32-year-old Argentinian made a 7-5, 6-3 and 6-4 over Mannarino.

The pain of Kerber, whose relatively limited game still brought her last year's Australian and US Open titles, was offset by the player who preceded her on court, Petra Kvitova.

The reigning women's champion opens up the day facing the unlikely but very popular victor from 2009.

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