By Sudipto Ganguly PARIS (Reuters) -Tunisian Ons Jabeur became the first major casualty on the opening day of the French Open on Sunday when the in-form sixth seed crashed out with a 3-6 7-6(4) 7-5 loss to Poland’s Magda Linette. Jabeur, seen as one of the big threats to world number one Iga Swiatek at […]
Tennis-Jabeur exits French Open after shock defeat by Linette
By Sudipto Ganguly
PARIS (Reuters) -Tunisian Ons Jabeur became the first major casualty on the opening day of the French Open on Sunday when the in-form sixth seed crashed out with a 3-6 7-6(4) 7-5 loss to Poland’s Magda Linette.
Jabeur, seen as one of the big threats to world number one Iga Swiatek at the claycourt Grand Slam, came to Paris at a career-high ranking and with a tour-leading 17 wins on the surface.
With her win in Madrid and runner-up finishes in Rome and Charleston, it seemed like Jabeur would have an easy outing against Linette when she made a strong start on Court Philippe Chatrier under overcast skies.
The 27-year-old suffered an early break of serve before breezing through the opening set in 37 minutes before Linette, who was ranked 56th before the start of the second major of the year, raised her game.
Linette, 30, had only defeated Jabeur in the first of their four meetings back in 2013 but she staged an inspired fightback in the second set, saving four breakpoints to level the match in the tiebreak.
As drops of rain fell on the main showcourt, Jabeur’s level also dipped and her unforced errors climbed and she made her frustration evident by kicking balls away after losing points.
Linette, who lost to Jabeur in the third round last year, went up 4-2 in the third set but saw her advantage slip away when Jabeur broke her serve back to stay alive.
But the Pole sealed the match when the Tunisian wasted a 40-0 lead in the 12th game and found the net on match point to be broken for the second time in the set.
“I had so many tough matches with Ons and last year here I lost to her in the third round so I knew how difficult it’s going to be,” Linette said on court.
“She was playing so well all this time. I knew I have to be focused and play every single point and try to make her uncomfortable. I am happy that I just managed to fight for every single point.”
Linette will next play Martina Trevisan of Italy or Briton Harriet Dart.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond, Kirsten Donovan)