Angelique Kerber's 2021 French Open has ended not long after it began. The 33-year-old, who was ranked 27th coming into the tournament, lost 6-2, 6-4 in the first round on Sunday to qualifier Anhelina Kalinina, who was playing her first-ever match at Roland Garros.
Kalinina, hailing from Ukraine, got a strong start in the match and never let up. She was efficient on first serve points, winning nearly 60 percent of them, while Kerber was at 41 percent. Kalinina also broke Kerber's serve six times on 10 tries, while Kerber could only break Kalinina's serve three times in eight chances. Kalinina was better on big points while Kerber didn't her her feet under her until it was too late.
“She started well and had nothing to lose, while it took me too long to get into the contest,” Kerber said after the match. "I will try to learn from the match now because I played good the last few weeks and I had good matches."
The French Open is the only Grand Slam that Kerber has failed to win, and she's struggled there in recent years. This is the third straight time Kerber has lost in the first round, and the fifth time in six years. She's made it to the quarterfinals twice in her career, in 2012 and 2018, but playing on clay has never been her strong suit, especially at Roland Garros. She told the media on Sunday that she's already looking forward to grass season.
“I did the best preparation I could do in the last few weeks on clay, but yeah, it’s fine, and now I’m looking forward to Wimbledon for the grass court season, and it sounds much better for me, so I’m happy that the next Grand Slam is on grass," Kerber said.
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