Paris: Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur crashed out of the French Open at the first hurdle Sunday at the Roland Garros here. Sixth seed Jabeur, seen as a potential champion, despite never having previously got past the fourth round, lost 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 to Poland’s 56th-ranked Magda Linette. Jabeur came into the event with a season-leading 17 wins on clay in 2022 and with the prestigious Madrid title under her belt. However, she was undone Sunday by 24 unforced errors in the two hour 28-minute match.
“I just tried to stay focused after the first set and tried to make her uncomfortable. I was happy to fight for every single point,” said Linette who needed treatment on a leg injury after dropping the first set.
Two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem, whose ranking has slipped to 194 after a lengthy battle with a wrist injury, was another early casualty, losing 3-6, 2-6, 4-6 to 87th-ranked Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.
Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, is yet to win a match in six attempts since his return to the courts in March. He has now lost 10 tour-level matches in a row. His last victory came in Rome just over a year ago.
The 28-year-old Austrian, a former World No. 3 reached at least the quarterfinals at Roland Garros five years running from 2016 to 2020. He finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile eyes will be on Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz after his sensational show this year. He is bidding to become just the eighth teenager to capture a major men’s title and is widely tipped to end the dominance of 13-time champion Rafael Nadal and two-time winner Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz is the tour’s dominant player in 2022, winning a season-leading 28 matches with just three losses. Three of his titles have come on clay in Rio, Barcelona and Madrid where he defeated Nadal, Djokovic and World No.3 Alexander Zverev to take the title.