French Open: Ons Jabeur, Garbine Muguruza bite the dust
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 No.1 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, raised her game.
Linette staged an inspired fightback in the second set, saving four breakpoints to level the match in the tie-break. She 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.
Former champion Garbine Muguruza suffered a second consecutive first-round exit at the French Open, biting the red dirt in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
Muguruza, who lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in 2016 and reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros two years later, was in cruise control in a one-sided first set before Kanepi ground her way back into the match. The decider was close but Kanepi took her chances and prevailed when Muguruza made an unforced error.
German third seed Alexander Zverev produced a clinical performance to kick off his campaign with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win against Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner on Sunday but twice French Open finalist Dominic Thiem crashed out in the first round, losing 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to Bolivian world No. 87 Hugo Dellien.
The 25-year-old Zverev, who reached the semi-finals last year at Roland Garros, came to Paris with strong clay-court form behind him, having reached the final in Madrid and making semi-final runs at Monte-Carlo and Rome.
Austrian Thiem, who has failed to win a match at any of the tournaments he has played since his wrist injury comeback in March, made 42 unforced errors.