Ons Jabeur and Garbine Muguruza are the first big casualties on the women’s side at the 2022 French Open. The dark horses for the title both lost on Day 1, albeit in three sets.
Sixth seed Ons Jabeur, this season’s match-win leader on clay courts with 17 victories, was stunned by world No.52 Magda Linette of Poland 3-6 7-6(4) 7-5 in the first round on Sunday.
Before the encounter, the stats were irrevocably in the Tunisian’s favor, as she was coming off back-to-back finals in Madrid and Rome, a stretch that included a career-best ten-match winning streak. Moreover, she defeated Linette en route to the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. On the other hand, Linette entered the match with a 2-16 record against Top 10 opposition.
The world No.6 Jabeur converted all her three break points in the first set, but missed four break-point chances in the second set as Linette edged the set in a tiebreak. The players exchanged breaks in the decider. As the match was coming to a close, Jabeur squandered a 40-0 lead while serving to stay alive and double-faulted to hand Linette match point.
“Honestly, I wasn’t happy to play on a Sunday at 11,” said Jabeur about being scheduled the tournament’s opening match on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion, fell to always-dangerous Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, 2-6 6-3 6-4. Only Serena Williams (29), Venus Williams (22) and Victoria Azarenka (21) among active players have recorded more wins than Kanepi (19) against seeded opponents in the opening three round at Grand Slams.
The tenth-seeded Muguruza led by a set and a break before the world No.46 Kanepi fought back to advance to the second round where she’ll meet Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Fourth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece progressed with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Clara Burel of France, while 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens of the United States recorded her first victory since March as she battled back to beat German qualifier Jule Niemeier 5-7 6-4 6-2.