PARIS, France - Former World No.1 Angelique Kerber made a winning start to her 2018 French Open campaign, triumphing in straight sets against fellow German Mona Barthel to move into the second round.
After easing through the first set and breaking Barthel three times, Kerber fought through a rollercoaster second set to win 6-2, 6-3 after exactly 60 minutes on court.
It’s a solid victory for the German, especially since she fell in the first round at both her previous appearances.
“I'm happy I won my first round here finally,” she told press afterwards. “It was not so easy, especially because you play against a German, so it's always not the easy straw.
“At the end I am happy how I played today. I was focusing first point until the last one. At the end it was a little bit tricky because she start to play better, and I was pushing too much the ball. But, I won the match and I'm just happy to being in the next round finally.”
Joining Kerber in Round 2, Bethanie Mattek-Sands claimed her first Grand Slam victory since last year’s Wimbledon, where a horror knee injury left her sidelined for the rest of the season and through the start of 2018.
Mattek-Sands made her comeback to action in Miami, but had yet to claim a main draw victory until today, defeating Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-3 to advance.
Clay favorite Kiki Bertens, a champion in Charleston and Madrid Open finalist, is also through to the second round without complications, easing past Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1.
Also moving into Round 2 in Paris: Fiona Ferro defeated Carina Witthoeft 6-4, 6-2; Sam Stosur defeated Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-4; Daria Gavrilova defeated Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3; Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-4, 5-7, 9-7.
Zhang Shuai defeated Kristina Kucova 6-0, 7-5; Alison Van Uytvanck defeated Isabelle Wallace 6-1, 6-0; Aliaksandra Sasnovich defeated Denisa Allertova 6-4, 6-3; Ashleigh Barty defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-3, 6-1; Peng Shuai defeated Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-4.