Angelique Kerber has won her last 13 matches, stretching back over half a decade, against her fellow Germans. The last time the two-time major champion lost to a compatriot was in the second round of Doha in 2013 – to Mona Barthel, her opponent today. Overall, Kerber leads the head-to-head against Barthel 3-2, including another first-round Roland Garros pairing in 2013 by a 7-6(6), 62 scoreline.
For the second year in a row, 2016 winner Garbiñe Muguruza opens her French Open campaign against a former champion. Last year, the Spaniard defeated 2011 champion Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-4; today, she starts against 2009 victor Svetlana Kuznetsova. Muguruza leads the head-to-head against the Russian 5-1: Kuznetsova captured their first meeting in Madrid in 2015, but the No.3 seed’s dominance since then has included their only previous Roland Garros meeting (in the fourth round in 2016), as well as three meetings last year in Brisbane, Wimbledon and Cincinnati.
French No.1 Caroline Garcia’s Roland Garros record coming into last year’s event was a modest 3-6 – but her quarterfinal run was the catalyst for her rise from perennial Top 30 player into a legitimate Top 10 contender. Her opening opponent, Duan Yingying, is yet to win a professional match on clay at any level; the only set the Chinese player has won on the surface was in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 qualifying loss to Victoria Kan at the 2015 French Open.
No.30 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has played Polona Hercog three times to date – but only one of those matches was completed, their Monterrey second-round in 2010, won by the Russian 6-2, 6-3. In 2012, their Brisbane encounter ended in a Hercog retirement – and later that year, Pavlyuchenkova would be forced to retire from their Beijing match.
This is the 20-year anniversary of Serena Williams’s first appearance at Roland Garros. Ranked No.27 at 16 years old, it was just Williams’s second clay-court tournament ever following a quarterfinal run in Rome two weeks prior. The three-time French Open champion’s Parisian debut was a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 defeat of Jana Nejedly, and the American followed it by losing three games combined against Corina Morariu and No.15 seed Dominique Van Roost before falling 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to eventual champion Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario.