After a dominant first set, the 30-year-old Tunisian missed Linette’s break chances in the second, which she came to lament as the world No. 52 produced a 40-0 comeback break in the second. last game to stun Jabeur. Sunday.
Known for her ability to bounce back from adversity, Jabeur lamented Linette’s ability to stifle her options in the loss on the Philippe-Chatrier court, the opening match on the grand slam’s main stadium.
“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. But that’s how sport is and you have to be smart enough to move on and get back on the court.”
Linette put in a full performance to beat the Tunisian, one of the favorites for the French Open title after her recent impressive form.
Jabeur has won 17 matches on clay this season, the most in women’s tennis by far, and became the first African player to win a WTA 1000 event at the Madrid Open earlier this month.
But after taking a one-set lead on Sunday, Jabeur was never given the chance to settle in by Linette, who had to leave the pitch at one point to seek treatment on her right thigh.
Even in a tight second set, Jabeur had the chance to close out the first-round match, missing four break point opportunities as Linette eventually took advantage of a tie-break.
And in the final set, as a few drops of rain began to fall, Jabeur served to stay in the game. She had a 40-0 lead in her service game to keep her dreams alive, but faltered and a double fault handed match point to Linette, which she dutifully took.
“I saw how well she was playing all this time so I knew I had to be focused and play every point and try to make her feel uncomfortable. I’m just happy that I managed to fight for every dot.”
Linette will now face Italian Martina Trevisan or Britain’s Harriet Dart in the second round.