Angelique Kerber has failed in the first round at the French Open for the third time in a row. The 33-year-old German number one lost to qualifier Anhelina Kalinina from Ukraine 2:6, 4:6 on the first day of the tournament. Paris remains a difficult place for Kerber: In five of the past six editions of the clay-court classic, she had to pack her bags after her first match.
Main Draw Debut ☑️
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 30, 2021
Three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber got off to a very weak start, acting far too passively and making mistakes. Her 24-year-old opponent, who was making her main draw debut at Roland Garros, easily pulled away. Kalinina, WTA-139th, had won the qualifying round without losing a set.
Kerber only managed to win the first game after 25 minutes at 1:5, she now improved, but the first set went clearly to the Ukrainian. And in the second set, too, the world number 27 quickly found herself trailing by a considerable margin, which she could not quite recover from 0:5 to 4:5 despite a rally.
After a difficult start to the season with a first-round knockout at the Australian Open, Kerber had actually noticed an improvement in her form before the start in Paris. “It’s definitely going in the right direction,” she said in an SID interview, hoping to be good for a surprise near the Eiffel Tower.
Kerber commented on her defeat at the start of Roland Garros.
“I need to learn lessons from this match. I had the best possible preparation on the ground, and I had a good game on this surface. It’s good that the next Slam will be on grass.