Seeded Kerber loses in first round of French Open

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic thanks the crowd after defeating Julia Boserup of the U.S in their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic thanks the crowd after defeating Julia Boserup of the U.S in their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday

Kerber has not been playing at all like one of the best at what she does, and on Sunday she became the first woman seeded No. 1 to lose in the French Open's first round in the professional era.

While Kerber fully merited that status last year, when she won the Australian and US Opens, the German arrived in Paris ranked 13th for the year so far.

Kerber said: "This year, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the grand slams".

The World No.1 Angelique Kerber did not have the greatest of clay preparation coming into the second Grand Slam of the season and she drew one of the most unsafe floaters in Ekaterina Makarova in the first round.

Makarova, now ranked 40 after reaching a career high of eight, kept Kerber at arm's length and opened up a double break for 3-0 in the second set.

The 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic, who is also known for his big serve and 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) stature, advanced to the second round with a 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-4 win over 18-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas. "And also when I have to step in I'm always one step too slow". Ruano Pascal won swiftly in 67 minutes, and Hingis revealed afterward that her preparation for Wimbledon was inhibited by tendinitis in her lower back.

"Well", she said, "that's unbelievable". "She's a great player, I knew that she wasn't going to miss it, and that I had to win it".

The German dropped serve in the next game, with Makarova hitting another four clean forehand winners to consolidate her hold on the match.

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Kerber's defeat makes the women's draw even more open with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka all not playing.

In the preceding match on Court Philippe Chatrier, Kvitovas eyes welled with tears at the end of her 6-3, 6-2 win against 86th-ranked Julia Boserup of the United States.

The 27-year-old had to undergo a four-hour operation to fix tendons and nerves in her left hand after sustaining knife wounds from an attacker at her home in Prostejov, Czech Republic, on December 20.

"So it was a real pleasure to play in front of them and play how I played".

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.

She was undecided until late last week whether to even try to play in the French Open.

In the men's draw, Britain's Dan Evans was defeated by 35-year-old Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

In her first Australian Open, Romanian Virginia Ruzici lost in the first round in three sets to Australian Mary Sawyer.