French Open: Anastasia Potapova routs Angelique Kerber in Roland Garros debut
Potapova reacts following her memorable French Open debut/Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

French Open: Anastasia Potapova routs Angelique Kerber in Roland Garros debut

Playing in her maiden main draw in Paris, Potapova produced a stunning display to send the three-time major champion out of Roland Garros at the first hurdle for the sixth time.

john-lupo
John Lupo

UMy The opening match of the French Open produced an unexpectedly one-sided affair as Anastasia Potapova blasted 28 winners in a 6-4, 6-2 first-round upset of fifth seed Angelique Kerber on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 18-year old Russian, ranked 81st in the world, was playing in just her third career main draw match at a major and was making her debut in Paris. The win sets up a second-round match with Marketa Vondrousova.

Kerber was attempting to complete the career Grand Slam at the only major where she has never reached the semifinals. The loss also puts an end to her chances of reclaiming the number one ranking.

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Russian teenager takes early lead on the back of 13 first set winners

It was Potapova who got off to the best possible start, taking a quick 2-0 lead when Kerber missed an easy backhand on break point. The German was back on serve straightaway after the Russian netted a backhand of her own.

The teenager was again a break in front thanks to some deep, powerful hitting off of the ground that Kerber had no answer for, Potapova now with a 4-2 margin. Again, it was her backhand that let her down, the fifth seed again back on serve.

The set looked to be on course for a tiebreak as Kerber held a 40-0 lead on her serve at 5-4 down. It was Potapova who reeled off five consecutive points, forcing the normally efficient German into more errors, including one on set that gave the 18-year old the lead.

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Potapova completes upset with blistering hitting

Admitting that she came to Paris with no expectations due to an ankle injury picked up in Madrid, Kerber seemed dispirited as the second set began. A forehand long gave Potapova an early break at 2-0. Another in her next serve game all but sealed the German's fate, now 4-0 behind.

The former world number one managed to pull one break back as the Russian momentarily wobbled to trim the deficit to 4-2, but it was far too late and a final loose forehand on match point booked Potapova's place in the second round in just 73 minutes.

"My phone is exploding now", said the world number 81 following her victory. "I really appreciate it. It's nice to hear congratulations from great people. I was trying to keep some focus on me, myself, how i'm playing, how i'm running.

"I wasn't trying to think a lot about the court, about the first round, about Kerber, because of course she's a great player. But, you know, i'm here to play my best. That's what I did. I live for this win, for these emotions and moments."

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