World No.1 Angelique Kerber was sent out in the first round of the French Open on Sunday at the hands of unseeded and looming Ekaterina Makarova.
WTA Staff

PARIS, France - Ekaterina Makarova made history at Roland Garros on Sunday, as she sent top seed Angelique Kerber out of the French Open, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round.

For the first time in the Open Era, a No.1 seed fell in the first round of the women's tournament. The No.1 seed has won Roland Garros 18 times, while the earliest exit of the top seed had previously occurred in the second round - Justine Henin in 2004 and Serena Williams in 2014.

In the Open Era, the top seed has lost in the first round at a Grand Slam only five times, including today. 1979 Australian Open (Ruzici, l. to Sawyer), 1994 Wimbledon (Graf, l. to McNeil), 1999 Wimbledon (Hingis, l. to Dokic) and 2001 Wimbledon (Hingis, l. to Ruano Pascual).

"It's a special day and a special moment and total different emotions," Makarova said about her first win over a World No.1. "I actually never played my singles on Philippe Chatrier here for nine years of playing here the main draw. I was playing all the time on Lenglen when I was going farther on the draw, so today was special day for me. I really enjoyed my singles out there."

"This is a Grand Slam, and I was a lot of years seeded. Here I'm not. Before the draw, I was waiting for the draw, and I was ready that I could play against anyone, but I didn't think that I will play No. 1. I'm kind of different also on these tournaments. I don't know why...doesn't matter what's happening, which draw I have. I don't know. I kind of like big tournaments."

The two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, currently ranked World No.40, came into the event as one of the most dangerous floaters in the women's draw based on pedigree, and proved it against the top seed.

The Russian never trailed in the match as she opened each set with a break, and by the end of the one hour, 22-minute encounter, had struck 26 winners in 16 games, served at 73 percent, and broke Kerber six times to improve to 5-1 against top 10 players this year.

"I think she played a good match. It was a tough first round," Kerber assessed. "I had a few chance in the first set and also in the second set, and I didn't make it. I think that was the key for the match. I believed in the second set, as well, that I can turn around the match and I was still believing until the last point, but she played well.

Conversely, Kerber struggled with 25 unforced errors against just 16 winners, and won less than 50 percent of points behind her first serve. The German was just 2/16 on break point opportunities in the match, which included letting seven slip by in the final game.

The Russian never trailed in the match as she opened each set with a break, and by the end of the one hour, 22-minute encounter, had struck 26 winners in 16 games, served at 73 percent, and broke Kerber six times to improve to 5-1 against top 10 players this year.

"I think she played a good match. It was a tough first round," Kerber assessed. "I had a few chance in the first set and also in the second set, and I didn't make it. I think that was the key for the match. I believed in the second set, as well, that I can turn around the match and I was still believing until the last point, but she played well.

Conversely, Kerber struggled with 25 unforced errors against just 16 winners, and won less than 50 percent of points behind her first serve. The German was just 2/16 on break point opportunities in the match, which included letting seven slip by in the final game.

With Kerber defeated, the World No.1 ranking can change hands after the French Open. Karolina Pliskova can move to No.1 by reaching the final, while Simona Halep can move to No.1 by winning the title. 

Kerber, who also lost in the first round of last year's tournament, sees her clay court season come to an end with a defeat in her last three matches.

"Last year, it was a completely different year. I mean, the pressure is always there," Kerber said, summarizing her clay court campaign. "This year, I mean, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams - and the expectations are also from me really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did last year. On clay, I'm really not feeling so good, especially on my movement...I cannot slide so good. I don't know. Normally I can move very well, but on clay it's always a little bit different and difficult for me."

"Of course, I'm disappointed that the clay court season was not so good. At the end, maybe it's good that it's over for me. Right now, I think that I have to find to myself again and just trying to forgot the clay court season as soon as possible, and then reset and starting from the grass courts again."