Angelique Kerber could be one of the earliest seeds to fall on Sunday at the French Open if she is not careful in her opening round match. The German has never quite managed to replicate her results elsewhere on to the clay and may be vulnerable in her opening round against Anastasia Potapova.
The career grand slam is just one away for Kerber but it looks very unlikely going by her previous outings on the clay. She matched her career best of a quarter final last year but had back to back round one losses in the years prior, including 2016 where she was a slam finalist or winner in the other three tournaments. She has had few matches on clay this year, having withdrew early in Madrid with an ankle injury. “Two weeks ago I was not even able to walk really good,” Kerber said. “That’s why I’m really happy to be here and doing such a process over the two weeks right now because it was a little bit more serious than I thought in Madrid.”
She may be fine now but the injuries have knocked her expectations coming into Paris. “[The title] is such a long way [away],” Kerber said. “I mean, of course when I started the year, the expectation of playing in Paris, that was the goal, to really be playing here my best.
Potapova is one of many young talents hoping to make a name for themselves here and what better way to do so than by knocking out a multiple time slam champion. The Russian is yet to win a main tour tournament but made two finals last year, including the clay event in Moscow. Potapova may not play with the aggressive style then many young power hitters do but remains a creative and consistent player, who is only going to get better with age.
Prediction – Anastasia Potapova in three sets