Roland Garros: Teen Potapova Ousts Idol Kerber, Tsitsipas Through

May 26 - by AFP for SportPesa News

The Russian said she had looked up to Kerber, 13 years her senior, as a child

Russia's Anastasia Potapova returns the ball to Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles first round match on day 1 of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 26, 2019. PHOTO |AFP

  • Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova said she was left "speechless" after knocking out her "idol" Angelique Kerber in the first round of the French Open on Sunday
  • The 18-year-old made short work of the fifth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, who was bidding to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, winning 6-4, 6-2
  • Potapova hammered 28 winners past the flailing Kerber, who had been struggling with a right ankle injury in the build-up to the event

PARIS, France- Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova said she was left "speechless" after knocking out her "idol" Angelique Kerber in the first round of the French Open on Sunday.

The 18-year-old made short work of the fifth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, who was bidding to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, winning 6-4, 6-2.

Playing in the main draw of the tournament for the first time in her young career, Potapova claimed her first-ever victory over a top-10 player to set up a second-round tie against either fellow teenager Marketa Vondrousova or China's Wang Yafan.

"I was just speechless," she said. "I didn't know what to say and what to do, but, yes, I was so happy at that moment, and I'm still so happy.

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"I live for this win, for these emotions, for these moments. I'm going to do everything to live it through again and again and again."

Potapova hammered 28 winners past the flailing Kerber, who had been struggling with a right ankle injury in the build-up to the event.

The Russian said she had looked up to Kerber, 13 years her senior, as a child.

"I was really looking forward for this match, because Kerber, I like her very much. She's actually one of my idols, and when I was young I was looking for her game, how she's playing," said Potapova, the 2016 junior Wimbledon champion.

"When you step in on the court and you know you play your, I would say idol, you've just got to show your best. That helped me. So, yeah, I was fighting for every point."

Potapova is one of several teenagers making their presence felt on the WTA Tour this year.

Czech Vondrousova claimed a surprise win over reigning French Open champion Simona Halep last week in Rome, while 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova reached the Australian Open last 16 and Canada's Bianca Andreescu, 18, was a shock title winner at Indian Wells.

Potapova admitted that the attention that comes with winning such a big match on Court Philippe Chatrier was something new.

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"My phone is exploding right now, you know, social media, anything, WhatsApp, the messengers."

The draw could open up nicely for Potapova, too, with 28th seed Carla Suarez Navarro the highest-ranked player she can face before the fourth round.

Rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas moved into the French Open second round on Sunday with a comfortable straight-sets win over Maximilian Marterer on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 20-year-old sixth seed, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open earlier this year, brushed aside German Marterer 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).

Tsitsipas raced into a 2-0 lead and edged a third-set tie-break to see off an opponent who reached the fourth round in Paris last year.

"It was a difficult first match... In the tie-break I managed to play like I did in the first two sets," said Tsitsipas, who was playing on the Roland Garros show court for the first time.

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"These are the moments we're practising for and dreaming of, I'm really happy to play here."

Tsitsipas will next face either Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran or Bolivia's Hugo Dellien as he looks to reach the third round for the first time.