French Open: Kiki Bertens knocks out Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber

French Open: Kiki Bertens knocks out Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber

In the opening match of the 3rd day of play in the French Open, on the Philippe Chatrier court, Kiki Bertens delivered the upset of the tournament to date when she delivered Angelique Kerber, one of the favorites for the title, a heart-ranching 1st round loss in 3 sets, beating her 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

moran-noyman
Moran Noyman

In a turbulent 1st round match between the number three seed German, Angelique Kerber and the young Dutchwoman, Kiki Bertens, where both players couldn't keep the momentum going their way for more than a few games, Kiki Bertens was the more precise out of the two and her serve helped her in achieving the biggest win of her life, 6-2 3-6 6-3. This is, without a doubt, a shocking defeat for Kerber, one of the biggest names in the women's draw, and the biggest upset of the tournament so far. She next faces Alize Lim from France or Camila Giorgi from Italy. 

Bertens Opens the Match Strongly 

In the first set, Kerber just couldn't find the court and too many of her shots flew long. Bertens took advantage of this and broke her in the 3rd game. Bertens wouldn't let up and kept the pressure on the German who seemed lost at that point.

After three straight holds, in the all so important seventh game of the set, the 24-year-old finally got the second break of the Kerber serve which saw her in the position of serving out the first set and she did just that, in style; hold to love with some great serves and powerful groundstrokes who forced Kerber into errors and it was 6-2 for Bertens in the first set. The German was targeting the forehand of the Dutch in that set a lot but to no avail; Bertens' forehand didn't break down.  

Kerber Fights Back in the Second Set

The German knew she was running out of time and started applying more pressure on her young opponent. She still struggled with her range but managed to hold her serves and after five games won by the server, the young Dutch who was getting closer to causing the upset showed some panic and nerves and gifted the number three seed three break points in a row.

The experienced German who was targeting the forehand side of the Dutch was finally getting the errors from that wing, and she only needed the one and she was now 4-2 up in the set. Was this the turning point? It was remained to be seen…The next game where Bertens got the break back right away suggest it wasn't but four unforced errors from her in the following game gave the German the lead again and she was now serving for the second set. She struggled a bit and found herself 0-15 and 15-30 in that game but managed to finally win it to 30 and the set 6-3.

Bertens Takes the Decisive 3rd Set and Causes the Huge Upset

The third and final set started in a similar fashion to the first, with the young Dutch player finding her precision and range of shots again and Kerber looking out of sorts. Bertens quickly went up 3-0 in the set and at that point Kerber called for the trainer and went off the court to get treatment for her nagging shoulder injury, the same injury that caused her to pull out of her home tournament in Nurenberg, just a week ago. 

When she came back it, seemed the long break in play distracted the 24-year-old, Bertens, and after a hold from Kerber, she found herself 15-40 down in the fifth game and in danger of losing her early break advantage but she saved both and was now 4-1 up and two games away from the biggest win of her career. In the next two games, both players held their serve to love and Kerber was now serving to stay in the tournament. She struggled but at the end, the over-aggressive play of the Dutch won her the game and kept her French Open hopes alive.

Bertens was serving for the match in the 9th game in the quest of causing a huge upset and it was not going as easy as she would have hoped. She reached two match points at 40-15 but Kerber wouldn't give up and with a beautiful cross-court pass made it only 40-30. The Dutch player then committed two unforced errors and handed the German a life-line break point. Unfortunately for Kerber, she missed her chance when she missed an easy pick up of a sloppy drop shot from her opponent's side. In the next point, she sent a forehand to the net and another backhand unforced error gave Bertens the win, in 1 hour and 44 minutes. The Australian Open Champion and the three seed is out in the first round and Kiki Bertens, the number 58 player in the world is through to the second round where she will face the Frenchwoman Alize Lim from or the Italian Camila Giorgi.  

Kiki Bertens is through to the second round in Paris where she will meet either the home-favorite Alize Lim or  the Italian Camila Giorgi (credit: Chris Brunskill; Getty images).
Kiki Bertens is through to the second round in Paris where she will meet either the home-favorite Alize Lim or the Italian Camila Giorgi (credit: Chris Brunskill; Getty images)

A Look at the Final Match Statistics

Bertens did better than her opponent on serve overall. She only had 63 percent of her first serves in as opposed to 65 percent for Kerber but she won 74 percent of the points behind her 1st serve while the German only won 60 percent behind hers. Bertens was the more aggressive player and committed more unforced errors than her opponent (36 - 28) but she made up for it with her 33 winners to only 9 from Kerber. At the end of the day the player who played more aggressive, and went for her shots, won the match. 

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