Petra Kvitova provided a performance to warm the heart on day one of the French Open, as Angelique Kerber became the first top-seeded woman in history to lose in the opening round.
On her return from six months out with serious hand injuries, sustained when she was stabbed by an intruder who broke into her apartment last December, Kvitova excelled in a 6-3 6-2 victory over Julia Boserup.
Fellow big names Venus Williams, Dominika Cibulkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova also won in straight sets on Sunday.
However, world number one Kerber was desperately disappointing in a 6-2 6-2 loss to Ekaterina Makarova, which leaves the German's position at the top of the rankings increasingly vulnerable.
For 5th time in Open Era the No.1 seed loses in opening round:-- Kevin Fischer (@Kfish_WTA) May 28, 2017
Kerber (2017 RG)
Ruzici (1979 AO)
Graf (1994 WIM)
Hingis (1999 & 2001WIM)
KVITOVA CONFIDENT THERE'S MORE TO COME
Kvitova exceeded all expectations with her superb performance, but the Czech feels she is likely to improve through further time on the practice courts.
"It felt great. So I'm glad it's still there, still in the mind, still in the hand," said Kvitova, whose team all wore matching t-shirts bearing the words 'courage' and 'belief'.
"It's still a little bit tricky sometimes. I felt a few times the racquet wasn't really in my hand strongly ... but I think if I'm going to practice more my hand will improve and will be better and better."
Thank you pic.twitter.com/cFeEFKbFyN-- Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) May 28, 2017
KERBER BEMOANS MOVEMENT WOES
Kvitova was followed on to Court Philippe Chatrier by Kerber, who endured a far less enjoyable match.
The dangerous Makarova took full advantage of Kerber's lack of confidence on clay, wrapping up victory by a comfortable margin.
Assessing her struggle to move effectively, the beaten top seed said: "I was trying it as good as I can in my practice sessions, but I'm not feeling so good on this clay when I have to move on the sides and then coming back.
"So then, of course, I'm not feeling good from the defence. And also when I have to step in I'm always one step too slow."
EVERGREEN VENUS BATTLES THROUGH
Tenth seed Williams began her record-breaking 20th (yes, 20th!) French Open campaign with a hard-fought victory, the veteran American coming from a break down in each set to edge out Wang Qiang 6-4 7-6 (7-3).
Next up for Williams is a meeting with Kurumi Nara, but she could have been facing a player more than 20 years her junior.
Nara needed three sets to overcome 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who was bidding to become the youngest winner of a main-draw match at Roland Garros since Alize Cornet in 2005.
Oh, teenagers.-- WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 28, 2017
Last line of Anisimova's press conference.
"Yeah, I have gum in my mouth right now. Sorry (smiling)."
CIBULKOVA, BRENGLE TAKE CONTRASTING ROUTES TO ROUND TWO
Dominika Cibulkova, the sixth seed, dropped only three games against Lara Arruabarrena, while Madison Brengle took a more circuitous route to the second round.
Brengle lost the first set 6-1 to Julia Goerges, but showed tremendous tenacity to eventually prevail 13-11 in a gruelling decider.