Ons Jabeur has become the first shock casualty on the opening day of the French Open, the in-form Tunisian crashing out with a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 loss to Poland’s Magda Linette.
She was swiftly followed out of Roland Garros by two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard, who won here in 2016, has fallen at the first hurdle for the second year in succession.
She was defeated on Sunday 2-6 6-3 6-4 by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, the oldest player in the women’s draw.
Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Belinda Bencic and Sloane Stephens were among those to progress.
Jabeur, seen as one of the big threats to world No.1 Iga Swiatek at the claycourt Grand Slam, came to Paris at a career-high ranking and with a tour-leading 17 wins on the surface.
With her win in Madrid and runner-up finishes in Rome and Charleston, it seemed Jabeur would have an easy outing against world No.52 Linette.
The 27-year-old sixth seed breezed through the opening set in 37 minute. But Linette staged an inspired fightback in the second, saving four breakpoints to level via the tiebreak before winning the decider.
As drops of rain fell on the main showcourt, Jabeur’s play also dipped 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.”
“I had so many tough matches with Ons and last year here I lost to her in the third round so I knew how difficult it’s going to be,” Linette said.
“She was playing so well all this time. I knew I have to be focused and play every single point and try to make her uncomfortable. I am happy that I just managed to fight for every single point.”
Muguruza said of her disappointing form, “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.
“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.
American teenager Gauff did not let 10 double-faults, 12 break points or a warning from the chair umpire about receiving coaching from Dad prevent her ganing a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino.