The 2017 French Open claimed its first big upset on the opening day of competition, as top-seeded Angelique Kerber lost in two sets to Ekaterina Makarova on Sunday. Makarova found tons of success on Kerber's serve, running out to an easy 6-2, 6-2 win.
Elsewhere, men's seeds Dominic Thiem (No. 6) and Grigor Dimitrov (No. 11) progressed to the second round with victories over Bernard Tomic and Stephane Robert, respectively. No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille also advanced after emerging on the winning side of a five-set war against Julien Benneteau.
Petra Kvitova made a triumphant return to tennis on Sunday, too, beating Julia Boserup in straight sets in what was her first outing since being stabbed in December when her house was burgled, per BBC Sport.
Kerber isn't known as a strong clay player and proved it again Sunday. Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times was taken aback with how little conviction she showed:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
Kerber not playing like a #1, obviously, but more crucially she's not competing like one. Taking lopsided, fading Ls lately. 2-6, 0-3*.#RG172017-5-28 11:33:21
She didn't even need to play her best tennis to get past the women's world No. 1, as Kerber gifted her points left and right. When momentum finally seemed to turn late in the second set, with the German star grabbing a break, she promptly double-faulted to hand the advantage right back.
The final game was brutal to watch, as Makarova failed to make good on several opportunities. Kerber's luck eventually ran out, though, and per Stuart Fraser of the Times, she set the kind of record you'd rather not own:
Stuart Fraser @stu_fraser
Angelique Kerber is FIRST women's top seed to lose in the first round at Roland Garros in the Open Era. Loses 6-2 6-2 to Ekaterina Makarova.2017-5-28 12:06:33
The result opened the door for Karolina Pliskova or Simona Halep to overtake Kerber for the No. 1 spot with a deep run in Paris. Pliskova can clinch the top spot with an appearance in the final, while Halep will need to win the tournament.
In the men's competition, Thiem hammered Tomic 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 to book his place in the second round, a match that featured an early contender for point of the tournament, as shown by Eurosport UK:
Eurosport UK @Eurosport_UK
Shot of the day, contender 3: Dominic Thiem https://t.co/syrhooCNLW2017-5-28 17:35:46
Dimitrov's 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over home favourite Robert was his first Roland Garros victory since 2013, ending his four-year wait on a second-round berth, and deservedly so after dominating every aspect of their clash, per the IBM Slamtracker.
Later on Sunday evening, Pouille battled back from a 2-1 set deficit in his clash with countryman Benneteau, and it was clear from the offset the two opponents were primed for a tight tug of war, as noted by Sport360's Reem Abulleil:
Reem Abulleil @ReemAbulleil
Pouille takes a one-hour first set 7-6 (6) over Benneteau #RG17 https://t.co/xQbsUzG8MJ2017-5-28 15:41:53
The match ultimately lasted a little more than three hours in total, and his reward for the 7-6 (6), 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win is a second-round meeting against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, who bested Dusan Lajovic in four sets.
It was a fine day's work for the fit-again Kvitova on Philippe-Chatrier Court, too, after she battered Boserup 6-3, 6-2 and cast an emotional figure after making a successful return to play after six months on the sidelines:
An emotional win for @Petra_Kvitova. What an inspiration. #RG17 https://t.co/IvmKodl7Eh2017-5-28 10:30:25
She'll be joined in the second round by Venus Williams, competing in her 20th campaign at the French Open, and Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times attested to the veteran's fortitude en route to victory against Wang Qiang:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
Impressive battling by Venus Williams to beat #50 Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-6(3). She trailed 2-4 in first set and then 3-5 in the second. #rg172017-5-28 17:30:48
Compatriots Christina McHale, Boserup, Louisa Chirico, Amanda Anisimova and Tennys Sandgren all fell out at the first hurdle, although Shelby Rogers, Madison Brengle and Bethanie Mattek-Sands all advanced to ensure strong American representation in the second round.
Women's eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated McHale 7-5, 6-4 and will be seeking a title challenge after Kerber's exit, but No. 22 seed Mirjana Lucic Baroni saw her contest end with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Cagla Buyukakcay.
For results and a schedule of matches, visit the event website.