Bertens Sends Kerber Crashing Out

2 years ago
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Kiki Bertens caused the first major upset of this year’s French Open by knocking out No.3 seed Angelique Kerber in the first round.

PARIS, FranceKiki Bertens caused the first major upset at this year’s French Open, knocking out No.3 seed Angelique Kerber in the first round on Tuesday.

In a contest that had all the ingredients for an upset, the crowd on Philippe Chatrier was not left disappointed with the dish served up by Bertens. Fresh from a triumphant week in Nürnberg, where she came through qualifying to lift the title, the Dutchwoman continued her fine form to defeat Kerber, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Kerber, whose preparations were undermined by early exits in Madrid and Rome and her withdraw from Nürnberg, is the second Australian Open champion in three years to fall at the first hurdle in Paris, following in the unfortunate footsteps of Li Na.

“I came here to play round by round, and I know that you must play your best tennis in the first rounds, as well, because everybody is a tough opponent to play,” Kerber said. “I was trying it. It was not my day.

“I tried to fight also in the third set. But unfortunately she played too good in the important moments.”

Earlier this year in Miami, Bertens came within a set of toppling the German only for illness to intervene, but this time there was to be no stopping her. Displaying the confidence of a woman riding the crest of a seven-match winning streak, she held firm as Kerber mounted the inevitable comeback.

In a topsy-turvy deciding set, Bertens jumped out into an early lead, only to see her momentum stall when Kerber requested treatment on her troubled shoulder. On the resumption, she maintained this cushion to extend her lead to 5-3.

The final game tested Bertens nerve as she saw two match points come and go. On the third, the German’s resistance finally wilted, ending a lengthy exchange by looping a drop shot into the net.

Bertens’ reward for a second Top 10 win in less than a week – she beat Vinci en route to the Nürnberg title – is a meeting with Camila Giorgi, after she defeated wildcard Alizé Lim, 6-3, 6-2.

There was better news for two of the other French players in action, with Kristina Mladenovic and Alizé Cornet registering straightforward victories. Mladenovic, started strongly before withstanding a second set comeback to defeat 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone, 6-2, 6-4, while Cornet was even more impressive in dismantling Kirsten Flipkens, 6-1, 6-0.

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