Paris (dpa) – Angelique Kerber was eliminated in the first round of the French Open without any resistance.
The German number one lost on Monday evening in cold, wet weather in Paris against the 19-year-old Slovenian Kaja Juvan 3: 6, 3: 6 and showed a disgraceful performance. After just 67 minutes, Kerber’s completely disappointing performance was over again.
This means that the results of the German women in the French capital have been disastrous so far. After Anna-Lena Friedsam, Andrea Petkovic and Tamara Korpatsch, Kerber is already the fourth German to lose in the first round. Laura Siegemund and Julia Görges are still on duty on Tuesday.
Kerber had to wait many hours in Paris until she was finally allowed to play her first round game on Court 14. Initially, the start of the encounters in the outdoor areas was delayed by around two hours due to rain. Then the Italian Lorenzo Giustino and the French Corentin Moutet fought a match over more than six hours, so that Kerber’s game only began in the evening.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played a Grand Slam match in long clothes. I can’t remember having played under such conditions,” Kerber complained after the game. But she didn’t want to accept the circumstances as an excuse. “I just couldn’t find my rhythm,” said the three-time Grand Slam tournament winner. “It’s a strange, very different year.”
However, the adverse conditions could not be an excuse for the completely uninspired and listless appearance of the 32-year-old from Kiel. Kerber made 16 slight mistakes in the first set and gave up the run after only 36 minutes. In the second set the performance got worse. It almost seemed as if Kerber just wanted to get the game over with quickly. “This is not the kind of resistance we are used to from Angelique Kerber,” criticized Barbara Rittner, head of women at the German Tennis Association, as a TV expert at Eurosport. “I’m a little shocked.”
Before Kerber, Petkovic had already left without a chance. When defeat was foreseeable, she felt a deep disappointment. “I was totally sad that the game was over so quickly,” said the 33-year-old tennis player after her first round off. It was 3: 6, 3: 6 after just 73 minutes against the Bulgarian Zwetana Pironkowa. “I played really well in training, so it’s frustrating,” said the Darmstadt native.
Once again, Petkovic had fought his way back to the tour after an injury break. For the former top ten player, it was the first match since October 2019. After that, she had to pause because of knee problems and even had knee surgery in February. She had not attended the US Open. On the one hand, because she wanted to be there at her sister’s wedding, but on the other hand, so as not to force the injured knee to switch from Hartcourt to clay court.
But against Pironkowa, who last caused a sensation at the US Open in New York with the quarter-finals after three years of maternity leave, Petkovic clearly noticed the lack of match practice. The Hessin moved badly and had big problems with her own serve. She gave her service six times in total.
Still, Petkovic is not thinking about the end of his career. Rather, she is already looking to the year 2021, in which she “wants to attack again”, as she announced on Monday. “My focus will now be on recovering well and then preparing well for the new season,” said the Fed Cup player.
In return, she would also be prepared to spend Christmas in quarantine in Australia. The corona plans of the organizers of the Australian Open currently provide for this for players who want to start in Melbourne in January 2021. “Then at least I can escape the bad weather in Germany,” said Petkovic. “You always have to see the positive.”
Jan-Lennard Struff and Grand Slam debutant Daniel Altmaier provided two bright spots from a German perspective. The 30-year-old Struff defeated the American Frances Tiafoe with 3: 6, 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 3, 6: 7 (2: 7), 6: 3 and mastered Alexander Zverev and Alexander Zverev on Sunday Dominik Koepfer his opening hurdle. Struff showed the will to fight that Kerber completely missed and turned his first match point after exactly four hours. In round two there is now a German duel with the 22-year-old qualifier Altmaier, who won against the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7: 6 (7: 1), 6: 4, 6: 4.