(May 22, 2022) Day one at the French Open saw two major women’s seeds fall in Paris on Sunday.
No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur , one of the pre-tournament favorites lost to 56th-ranked Magda Linette of Poland 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in the first round.
Jabeur, from Tunisia, began the day with a tour-leading 17 wins on clay this season. She came into Roland Garros having won the Madrid Open and reached the final of the Italian Open earlier this month.
Linette was a mere 2-16 against Top 10 opponents coming into the match, and she had lost to Jabeur in the French Open third round last year.
Former Roland Garros champion Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain was also knocked out of Paris on Sunday. Muguruza who won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 and was seeded 10th this year but was defeated 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia on Sunday.
“I think I started very well, although the first couple of games I was start nervous, but I managed to turn them around and get the first set and be dominating,” Muguruza said to media.
“In the second set, it was a moment where I hesitated maybe to close the match … get more dominant, and she came out with great tennis and managed to put me in a third set. The third set, I think it was a very good set. It could have [gone] both ways.”
Kanepi who will turn 37 next month, is the oldest player in the women’s draw in Paris. Ranked No. 46 and playing in her 15th French Open, the Estonian notched her 19th career victory against a Top 10 player.
The match ended under a drizzle and Muguruza missed a service return on match point, then cracked her racket against the ground.
Ten of Kanepi’s 15 career Top 10 wins have come at major tournaments. She beat then-ranked No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open.
Newly minted High School graduate Coco Gauff won her opening round match at the French Open with a 7-5, 6-0 win against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino. She overcame 10 double-faults, 12 break points and a warning from the chair umpire about receiving coaching from father.
The 18-year-old talked to media about the importance of an education:
“Both my parents graduated college and my grandmothers are both teachers and I have a whole family really full of teachers.
“Finishing high school was important to me. I know on tour a lot of players don’t always do that because you have tennis, but for me, tennis is what I do, but there are other interests that I have outside of tennis and definitely having knowledge on that can help me indulge in them more.”
Another recent graduate won on Sunday.
Gauff isn’t the only player in the draw coming in fresh off a commencement ceremony. The Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova skipped the tournament in Rome to attend her college graduation at Indiana University East. The 23-year-old completed her degree in Business Administration through the WTA’s program with IU East.
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Bouzkova said. “It gave me a different perspective on the world. Business is a fun subject to learn about, how everything works.”
Up-and-comer, Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz never faced a break point while dismissing Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in less than two hours Sunday in his first round match.
The 19-year-old who is seeded No. 6, has a men’s tour leading four titles and a 29-3 record in 2022. He is the youngest man to reach the top 10 in the rankings since his countryman Rafael Nadal did it in 2005.
“It was difficult at the beginning, but it’s always special to play in such a great stadium, a great court,” Alcaraz said. “I’m really happy with the performance in my first match in Philippe Chatrier, and hope to play more matches [on] this court.” Just a year ago, Alcarz was ranked 97th in the world and now he is in the Top Teen and a contender for the Roland Garros title.
“I am trying to be focussed just on the tournaments, on the matches, and [not] trying to be a part of the social media and everyone talking about you,” Alcaraz said to media. “[I] just focus on what I have to improve, what I have to do [in] the matches, what I have to do… every day to be ready in the tournament.”
World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada survived a major scare by overcoming a two-set defict for the first time in his career to advance to the second round of the French Open with a 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas.
“It’s great. It’s such a lovely court,” Auger-Aliassime said about playing on Court Phillipe Chatrier. “It’s beautiful out there, and so it was really a treat and a pleasure to play on this court. It was disappointing in the match to see how things were going, I really hoped for better.
“But I think that’s why I also wanted to really push myself and really try everything…I feel like I left it all on the court. Because this was an important day for me, an important win. I really wanted to get this first one here.”
Two-time former finalist and former US Open champion Austria’s Dominic Thiem still on the comeback trail from a torn tendon in his right wrist, lost his 10th match in a row, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 against Bolivian Hugo Dellien.