Kerber out to find elusive love for French Open clay

Kerber out to find elusive love for French Open clay

Kerber lost convincingly to Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2, 6-2 and is now out of the French Open.

"It can be just better", said Kerber, who will face Russian Ekaterina Makarova, ranked 40th in the world, in the first round in Paris.

The out-of-form Kerber has yet to win a title this season and mustered just two victories in clay court tournaments before the French Open, where her best performance remains a quarter-final berth in 2012. She hadn't gone beyond the round of 16 in her last three events, and set an unwanted record - first women's No 1 to go out at the first round at Roland Garros.

Seeded winners in the women's first round: No. 6 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 15 Petra Kvitova, No. 30 Timea Bacsinszky.

Five months after suffering career-threatening injuries when she was stabbed by an intruder in her home, Kvitova looked sharp and eager in a 6-3 6-2 triumph over Julia Boserup. Leading 5-2 into her service, Makarova sealed the victory with a powerful forehand to deny Kerber's quest for the Suzanne Lenglen trophy.

It was her first match for the season after she had suffered a career-threatening left hand injury during a robbery in her apartment prior to Christmas past year.

While Kerber fully merited that status last year, when she won the Australian and US Opens, the German arrived in Paris ranked 13th for the year so far.

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"So it was a real pleasure to play in front of them and play how I played".

"There is much bigger expectation this year, especially in the big tournament and Grand Slams".

The reigning women's champion opens up the day facing the unlikely but very popular victor from 2009.

"I think it's for sure not easy", she said.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova makes her return to professional tennis on Sunday. "I think that's the most important (for my loss)", she said. "And the expectations are also, from me, really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did a year ago", Kerber said. The doubles Wimbledon champion lost the US Julia Bossarap by 6-3, 6-2.

Seeded losers in the women's first round: No. 1 Angelique Kerber, No. 22 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, No. 31 Roberta Vinci.

None of the favorites has received an easy paths through to the finals at the French Open, but the draw has set up some interested potential matchups.

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