Jabeur leaves Roland-Garros in shock loss

Ons Jabeur became the first big victim of the shock on the first day of Roland-Garros, the Tunisian in form having lost 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 against the Polish Magda Linette.

Jabeur, seen as one of the big threats to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek at the clay Grand Slam, came to Paris at a career high and with a tour-leading 17 wins.

With victory in Madrid and second places in Rome and Charleston, it looked like Jabeur would have an easy outing against world No. 52 Linette when she got off to a strong start on Court Philippe Chatrier under overcast skies.

The 27-year-old sixth seed suffered an early serve break before going through the first set in 37 minutes, but Linette raised her game.

Linette, 30, had only beaten Jabeur in the first of their four encounters in 2013, but she staged an inspired fightback in the second set, saving four breakpoints to level the game in the tiebreak.

As raindrops fell on the main pitch, Jabeur’s level also dropped and she made her frustration evident as she fended off balls after dropping points.

The Pole, who lost to Jabeur in the third round last year, sealed the game when the Tunisian lost a 40-0 lead in the 12th game and found the goal on match point to be broken for the second time of the set.

“I had so many tough games with Ons and last year here I lost to them in the third round so I knew how tough it was going to be,” Linette said on the pitch.

“She was playing so well all this time. I knew I had to be focused and play every point and try to make her feel uncomfortable. I’m happy that I managed to fight for every point.”

“I wanted to go as far as possible in the tournament because I played well on clay in Madrid and Rome, and it’s hard to accept that one,” Jabeur said.

“But that’s how sport is and you have to be smart enough to move on and get back on the pitch. So maybe it was a good thing to lose today.

“I would rather say that and be really hard on myself than waste all the good energy I got from Madrid and Roma.”

Linette will then face the Italian Martina Trevisan or the British Harriet Dart.

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