Roland Garros 2022 - Magda Linette battles back from a set down to stun Ons Jabeur in first round
Ons Jabeur was fresh off a run to the Italian Open final following a Madrid Open title in Spain, but the sixth seed looked second best against underdog Magda Linette who fought back from a set down to take a thrilling opening match on Phillipe Chatrier 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. I knew how difficult it would be," said Linette.
Watch shock moment Linette upsets Jabeur at French Open
The two kicked off the second by exchanging holds, with Jabeur serving strongly and capitalising on unforced errors from her opponent.
With Jabeur 3-2 up, she had a break point on Linette's serve but the Pole landed a huge cross-court forehand to save the game and hold serve for 3-3.
And Linette showed brilliant mettle once more when, at 0-40 down, she roared back to take the game from Jabeur to level at 4-4 with some grinding tennis from the baseline and a winner at the net.
'Run those nerves off' - Jabeur and Linette get French Open underway
Linette then forced a break point of her own on the Jabeur serve but the Tunisian showed some steel of her own with three points on the spin to go 5-4 up.
The crowd roared the two contenders on as Linette gratefully accepted an easy hold.
The two could not be separated in the second set and a tie-break.
A cross-court forehand from Linette gave her the lead, but the two remained on serve in a gripping tie-break that eventually handed the underdog two set points after a series of uncharacteristic misses from a frustrated Jabeur.
And she only needed one to force a deciding set to the delight of the crowd.
Linette lead for the first time since opening the match with a hold to go 1-0 up in the third set, but Jabeur levelled after rattling through her own service game.
For the first time in the match Linette was holding without trouble with Jabeur having to do the work to keep the score level.
'A lot of frustration' - Jabeur reacts to her shock loss to Linette
But her resistance was broken and Linette handed the advantage as she took the first of two break points against the crumbling Tunisian who could only find the tramlines with a backhand volley.
There was another twist as for the first time in the match Linette's nerves were on show as Jabeur broke straight back, taking the third break point with an inch-perfect dropshot to keep her French Open alive.
Jabeur saved a break point in the next game of a rollercoaster encounter to hold serve but was battling for each point, while Linette eased through her next two service games to go 6-5 up and within one game of victory.
And Jabeur, 40-0 up and on the verge of forcing another tie-break, threw away the lead with a series of poor misses and a brilliant passing shot from Linette who forced deuce and then a match point.
She only needed one bite at the cherry and a Jabeur error ensured the tournament kicked off with a huge upset and a place for Linette in the second round.
MUGURUZA FALLS TO KANEPI
Another of the top ten fell as Kaia Kanepi fought back from a set down to beat 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.
Muguruza the Estonian twice in the first set and looked like easing to comfortable victory.
But the qualifier, who currently sits outside the top 1000, had other ideas, breaking back in the second and forcing a deciding set.
Muguruza held on in the third, saving three break points to stay level in the match, but Kanepi looked energised against her tiring opponent and, easing through her own service games, broke Muguruza to take the set and match.
In a to-the-point interview, Kanepi refused to focus on her big upset, instead wanting to "win every game" she played, as she was asked about her hopes for the coming rounds and what she thought about changing mid-match.
"I didn’t change much, I just got more balls in the court. There were more rallies and I think my serve was better in the second and third sets. I’m very happy, [17 years playing Roland-Garros] is a long time! I won the juniors here, and because of that it’s a very special place to play. I want to win every match I play!"
The Spaniard was downbeat in her post-match press conference, and rightly so after a match she felt she had been "dominating" for large periods.
“[Kanepi was a] very experienced opponent. I think I started very well although the first couple of games I started nervously, but I managed to calm them down and win the first set. [I was] dominating but in the second set, there was a moment where I hesitated to close the match - become more dominant - and she came up with great tennis and managed to put me in a third set - a very good set - it could have gone both ways.”
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