Kerber, who only had a personal best record of a last 16 in this clay season, failed to withstand the strong forehand and backhand attacks from her opponent as she lost the first set 6-2 in 38 minutes. "I won for the second time, if I can say", she told reporters after become the first player to advance following a 6-3 6-2 win against American Julia Boserup. Before going to Roland Garros, she had promised her doctor she would stop if she felt any pain.
The German will be happy to leave Roland Garros behind, and hope to rediscover a game in which several cylinders are misfiring in time for Wimbledon, where she finished runner-up previous year.
With the top seed out on day one, the likes of Romania's Simona Halep and Karolin Pliskova of the Czech Republic now have the chance to take top spot in the world rankings with a good run in the French capital.
"I'm really happy for her and I'm glad to see all of the players giving her a warm welcome back because she deserves it and she's such a great champion and a truly incredible person off the court that she deserves that and more", said Rio Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig.
Afterwards, several other players reached out to show how excited they were for Kvitova's opening-match win.
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The Czech star was left with her career in the balance after being attacked with a knife by an intruder at her home in December. "I'm happy with the game, of course, but I mean, it wasn't really about the game today".
It was the second successive first round exit at Roland Garros for Kerber - last year, she fell to unseeded Kiki Bertens before recovering to make the Wimbledon final.
After an early blip when she double-faulted, she opened a 2-0 lead by breaking in the second game.
Tennys Sandgren, a 25-year-old from Tennessee, was beaten 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 by Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Sunday. I think so, I think I could play just fine but I wanted to be mentally ready to go out there and grind and be in the routine.
"I feel great about the win".
Crosby wins Conn Smythe Trophy for second straight year
The win cements his legacy as a three-time Stanley Cup champion and leader of the first repeat champs since the 1997-98 Red Wings. The Penguins captain not only raised his third Cup, but he also won his second Conn Smythe in as many years.
So is two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova's comeback.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic reacts after missing a shot against Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France.
The opening loss for Kerber marks a disappointing 2017 in which she has struggled, winning only one Women's Tennis Association tournament so far.
"I saw her in the locker room a couple of days ago", said Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an American qualifier who will face Kvitova in the second round after beating Evgeniya Rodina 7-5, 6-2.
Penguins defeat Predators, win 2017 Stanley Cup
The Penguins captain not only raised his third Cup, but he also won his second Conn Smythe in as many years. Then a series that hadn't featured even a single one-goal game went scoreless through the first 58 minutes.
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