'Deserves more': Tennis world left fuming over French Open farce

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World No.6 Ons Jabeur crashed out in a shock first round loss at the French Open in front of a largely empty centre court crowd. Pic: Getty/Eurosport
World No.6 Ons Jabeur crashed out in a shock first round loss at the French Open in front of a largely empty centre court crowd. Pic: Getty/Eurosport

World No.6 Ons Jabeur crashed out in an unfortunate opening to the French Open tournament, where the Tunisian played in front of an almost empty centre court at Roland Garros.

Jabeur became the first shock casualty at Roland Garros, with the in-form Tunisian exiting after a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 loss to Poland's Magda Linette.

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That is despite coming into the event with a season-leading 17 wins on clay in 2022, the Madrid title under her belt and a runner-up finish in Rome against World No.1 Iga Swiatek.

However, she was undone by 47 unforced errors against Linette, who prevailed in a two hour 28-minute boilover.

One of the pre-tournament favourites for the women's title, Jabeur said she was not happy about being the very match scheduled on Court Philippe Chatrier - the centre court at Roland Garros.

“Well, honestly, I wasn’t happy to play on a Sunday at 11am,” she said.

“I’ve got quite a peculiar relationship with this court, I like it and I don’t like it at the same time.”

With full crowds allowed back at Roland Garros for the first time since 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a sad indictment that Jabeur's match was played in front of a stadium full of empty seats.

A photo of the disappointing scenes saw tennis fans hit out on social media.

Big guns out in women's draw

The 27-year-old sixth seed breezed through the opening set in 37 minutes, but Linette staged an inspired fightback in the second, saving four break points to level via the tiebreak before winning the decider.

Jabeur's play dipped as the match went on and she made her frustration evident by kicking balls away after losing points.

"It's difficult to take that one in," Jabeur said.

"But that's what sport is like and you need to be smart enough to move forward and get back on court. So maybe it was a good thing to lose today.

"I would rather say this and be really tough with myself than waste all the good energy that I got from Madrid and Rome."

Elsewhere, two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza - who won the French Open in 2016 - was also a shock first round loser.

Pictured here, Spain's Garbine Muguruza hits a shot against Estonian Kaia Kanepi at the 2022 French Open.
Spain's Garbine Muguruza was a shock first round loser against Estonian Kaia Kanepi at the 2022 French Open. Pic: Getty

Muguruza fell at the first hurdle for the second year in a row, defeated 2-6 6-3 6-4 by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, the oldest player in the women's draw.

"It's been a tough season. I've had matches so much in control, but then I don't manage to close and it gets complicated," Muguruza said.

"But I feel that I'm training hard, I'm putting the work.

"At some point I'm a 100 per cent sure that I'm going to go out there and get those wins that have been slipping away from me."

Kanepi, who turns 37 next month, is ranked 46th and is participating in her 15th French Open.

Her best showings were quarter-final appearances in 2008 and 2012.

Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Belinda Bencic and Sloane Stephens were among other big names in the women's draw to progress.

with agencies

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