Tunisia s Ons Jabeur celebrates winning her first round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Italy s Lucia Bronzetti in two sets, 6-4, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. Photo: AP
A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed Jabeur beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 to help erase some bad memories and answer questions about a recent calf injury.
The Tunisian, a crowd favorite in Paris, expressed relief in not repeating last year’s mistake, when she lost to Magda Linette of Poland.
“I was pretty stressed, I’ve got to say,” Jabeur said. “But I was just trying to play my game. The most important thing for me was to feel healthy and to move well on the court.”
Now she can focus on trying to win her first major. She was runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.
The 28-year-old Jabeur has battled injuries this season. She had knee surgery after the Australian Open, and was then sidelined with a calf injury. She had stopped playing against top-ranked Iga Swiatek at the clay-court tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, in late April and then pulled out of the Madrid Open.
“It was a very difficult period for me after Stuttgart,” Jabeur said on court, adding that she’s beginning to find her rhythm.
Jabeur struck 27 winners to Bronzetti’s seven, though with 24 unforced errors she’ll have room to improve.
“I feel 100% fit. I need to have more matches under my belt to gain confidence,” she said.
Also Tuesday, 16-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva of Russia had a memorable Grand Slam debut by dominating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1. Andreeva’s older sister — 18-year-old Erika — was facing Emma Navarro later in the day.
No. 6 seed Coco Gauff stumbled early but got past Rebeka Masarova 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
Later, Swiatek gets her French Open title defense started against Cristina Bucsa, who is ranked 70th.
On the men’s side, No. 4 seed Casper Ruud beat qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to remind the higher-profile tournament favorites that he was runner-up to Rafael Nadal last year at Roland Garros.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)