Anastasia Potapova celebrates winning her first round match against Angelique Kerber in Paris on Sunday. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
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.
Anastasia Potapova plays a shot against Angelique Kerber during their first round match of the French Open in Paris on Sunday.
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.
"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.
Anastasia Potapova reacts during her first round match against Angelique Kerber. Reuters
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.
Angelique Kerber in action during her first round match against Anastasia Potapova in Paris on Sunday. Reuters
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.
"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.
Roger Federer insisted Monday his focus at this week’s Italian Open was on getting more match practice on clay ahead of the French Open in two weeks time. The 20-time Grand Slam winner has not played on the red clay in the Foro Italico since 2015 when he finished runner-up for the fourth time,
The 17-year-old downed Halep 6-2, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier to announce herself on the big stage
Defending champion Rafael Nadal powered past Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals on Friday, to move within one victory of a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title after handing his oldest rival his worst Grand Slam defeat in 11 years.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams was benched and fellow centre Ryan Crotty missed out altogether as New Zealand named their team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.
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