"I love playing in Paris. I love playing on this kind of clay...Hopefully continuing with great results," Ons Jabeur, gave a big grin saying before her opening round of the 2022 Roland Garros. Memories still linger on her mind of being a junior champ in Paris in 2011, but that was then, and this is now.
She's had two years of getting into the fourth round but this wasn't the case this time around at the French Open. Fresh off of her finalist berth at the Italian Open, she battled it out with another Pole, teen Iga Swiatek only to lose in straight sets.
Ons Jabeur's loss to Polish Magda Linette really came as a surprise to all. She had a head-to-head of winning 3 matches to 1 but things took a shocking turn after Jabeur won the opening set 6-3. The Tunisian pulled out her diabolical cross courts, slices, spins and drop shots that were working well.
But then Linette had to take a medical timeout to have her bothersome thigh wrapped. The break caused Jabeur to cool off and she'd begin playing too relaxed at the onset of the second set. She did blast a few aces and grabbed the first game but her sloppiness of unforced errors gave the Pole more confidence that she would prevail and do better.
Linette started pulling out skills from Jabeur's textbook on drop shotting which began to produce winners leaving the Tunisian surprised. "I tried to make her as uncomfortable as I could," Magda laughed as she visited the interview desk after the match hosted by Steve Weissman and Chanda Rubin.
Linette succeeded her strategies well and brought the second set to a tiebreak winning and leveling up the match. "I had so many tough matches with Ons," she confessed but Jabeur wasn't able to keep consistenly performing her tactics to produce winners on the 56th rank WTA player.
It was one of Ons' desire was to win a Grand Slam as well as to win more titles. But this Slam surely ran past her in too quick a fashion. "..I don't want to put the bad pressure on yself that I have to do it this year," she said frankly.
After the tiebreak, the rhythm and momentum Ons should have had just wasn't there and she and the French Open audience could feel the match slipping and sliding away from the smiling Tunisian. Linette never stopped fighting and that might have made a big difference in the result.
"Super greateful. I know everybody loves Ons," the Pole sincerely said. But it didn't matter anymore. After the last ball hit and Linette looked up to the skies, smiling that she was able to pull off a win. Ons Jabeur could only wave to the Parisian crowd as she walked fast off the court.
It's her hopes that the next Grand Slam will bring the more productive and lovely results she was planning on accomplishing.