This season's clay-court match-win leader is already out of the 2022 French Open. Magda Linette of Poland knocked out No.6 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 in the tournament's opening match on the main stadium, Court Philippe Chatrier.
World No.56 Linette was only 2-16 against Top 10 opponents coming into the match, and she had lost to Jabeur in the Roland Garros third round last year. But this time, Linette pulled off a comeback against Jabeur, who won the WTA 1000 Madrid title on the dirt earlier this month.
Both of Linette's previous Top 10 wins also came at Grand Slam events (including over then-World No.1 Ashleigh Barty at last year's Roland Garros via retirement), and she grabbed another upset at a major after 2 hours and 28 minutes of play.
Jabeur had won 17 matches on clay this season, far ahead of everyone else on tour (Amanda Anisimova and Ekaterina Alexandrova are tied for second place with 10 clay-court match-wins apiece in 2022). Along with her Madrid title, Jabeur reached finals in Charleston and Rome.
Linette, though, came through in a tricky final set, garnering her second win over Jabeur in their five career meetings. Jabeur had 35 winners to Linette's 32, but the unseeded Pole kept her unforced errors lower, with 35 to Jabeur's 47.
Jabeur broke Linette three times in the first set but missed opportunities to take a lead in the second set, where the Tunisian went 0-for-4 on break points. Linette used her court craft to draw errors from Jabeur late in the second-set tiebreak and squeak out the set.
Rain began to fall as the pair exchanged breaks during the third set, and a love hold for 6-5 put Linette in charge down the stretch. Jabeur saw a 40-0 lead slip away in the following game, and Linette eventually broke for the upset after a forehand miscue by the World No.6.
Stephens, Osorio, Haddad Maia advance
2018 French Open finalist Sloane Stephens also grabbed a comeback win in the first round on Sunday, defeating qualifier Jule Niemeier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Stephens converted six of her 16 break points, which was enough to get through in 2 hours and 26 minutes.
"It’s always tough when you play someone you don’t know in the first round of a Grand Slam, but to get through it, gives me a lot of confidence," Stephens said afterwards on Tennis Channel. "I love these courts, they suit my game really well. … It’s always been somewhere I’ve enjoyed playing.”
Two of Latin America's top players also reached the second round early Sunday. Camila Osorio of Colombia eased past French wildcard Harmony Tan 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 22 minutes. Osorio had previously defeated Tan en route to her first title on home soil in Bogota last year.
And Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia overcame qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Haddad Maia, who made her Top 50 debut last week, has won 10 of her last 11 matches, with a title and a final at WTA 125 level in her last two events.