Angelique Kerber became the first women’s No. 1 ever to lose on the first day of the French Open, falling to unseeded Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2.
After her outstanding 2016, Kerber has been inconsistent and shaky this year—and today was a new low. She struggled from the start, falling behind 5-1 in the first set and not earning her first break point until the final game of the set (which she lost anyway). She then slipped behind 3-0 to begin the second set, and even though she showed a bit more fight late in the match, it wasn’t enough. In less than an hour and a half, she was gone.
In our French Open preview on Friday, Laura Wagner noted that Kerber has had particular difficulty on clay this year, unable to make it past the round of 16 in any of the three clay tournaments she has played. Makarova, meanwhile, has been enjoying enough success on clay to make this match-up feel far closer than a world No. 1 versus No. 40 logically should—and this morning proved that true.