Debuts are exciting. They are nerve-racking but very monumental and possibly a bit overwhelmingly funny. Anastasia Potapova, an 18-year-old Russian young woman is making a habit and success out of being a newbie and loving it.
She made her debut as a wild card player in Miami and defeated Maria Sakkari her first win over a top-100 player. But previously she hit the minor leagues winning over Amanda Anisimova and Teliana Pereira, her first win over a top-200 player.
When she stepped out on the red clay of the French Open she had good vibrations on her days a few years ago of making it as a junior into the semifinals and the doubles finals there. She knew to expect the unexpected and it came right away in her opening round at Roland Garros against Germany's Angelique Kerber.
Potapova lives in the city of Khimki, a city of Russia which ironically has a chain of French stores called Auchan there and the Swedish franchise centres of Ikea. But Potapova did some major shopping around for tournaments that she could sharpen her scores and strategies of which she is enjoying the challenge.
Last season she was given another wild card into the Moscow River Cup and defeats two top-100 players Olga Danilovic another teen as herself, then Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of Karolina. Potapova's first day here at Roland Garros was another nervous but challenging start as she was put opposite of the veteran Angelique Kerber with a career of holding 12 titles and three of them grand slam crowns.
The nerves kicked in on a positive realm playing Kerber as the teen grabbed the first two games of the opening set. The German might not have known of her teen opponent's luck at knocking out veterans and just doing well in debuts, but she soon got the drift and felt the sting of Potapova's racket magic.
The teen grabbed the first 2 games and Kerber started playing catch-up all along the way. She'd level the games at 2-all then soon had much on her plate to level it at 4-all. But the Potapova consistency gave the set to the tenth game at 6-4 with her corner to corner strategies and Kerber's unforced errors as gifts.
The second set was nearly a repeat of the first with Potapova blasting shots at Kerber but the German wasn't a pushover either as she returned stinging rallies time and again. At first, the results seemed hopeful for the veteran, but Potapova's corner shots were too affective and with the help of a net cord ball dropping on Kerber's side the Russian teen who went up 4 games to 0.
Kerber's veteranship took over for a little while adding her two games to the mix. The recipe was in the teens blender and it was long before she added a few more points for an opening match win over Angelique Kerber of 6-4, 6-2.
Anastasia Potapova's tactics are challenging and any opponent new or a veteran had better bring their 'A' game to the red clays or they'll be dusted out of there as fast as Kerber was.