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French Open: Dominic Thiem, Ons Jabeur lose on opening day

Dominic Thiem

Austria’s Dominic Thiem plays a backhand return during his men’s singles match against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien at the Court Simonne-Mathieu on day one of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 22, 2022. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The French Open began with notable defeats.

The 2020 U.S. Open men’s champion Dominic Thiem was eliminated in his 10th consecutive tour-level loss amid returning from a wrist injury. Women’s No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur, the favorite to reach the final from the bottom half, was ousted in three sets. And Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, continued her 2022 struggles.

American Jenson Brooksby, the 31st seed, was the first seeded man to lose, falling 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

Later, the highest seeds in action advanced in straight sets: No. 3 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 4 Maria Sakkari of Greece and No. 6 Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spanish phenom bidding to become the youngest men’s champion since Rafael Nadal won the first of his record 13 French Opens in 2005.

Nadal and favorites Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are scheduled to play first-round matches Monday.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Thiem, the 2018 and 2019 French Open runner-up from Austria, fell 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to Hugo Dellien of Bolivia. Thiem has gone more than one year without a match win.

“Zero physical issues,” Thiem said. “In practice was really decent already the forehand, but then match situation is something different, Grand Slam especially, I’m obviously a little bit more tight, more nervous and obviously the whole body gets more tight, gets more nervous and right now that’s toxic to my forehand because I’m still missing the fine feeling there. I’m missing it a lot.

“Definitely thinking to go back to Challenger level now for maybe one or two tournaments. Of course a match win would help a lot, but if I’m honest to myself, in all the matches I played, still pretty far away from a win.”

Jabeur, the Tunisian who made the final of the last major clay-court lead-up event in Rome, lost 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 to Poland’s Magda Linette.

Jabeur, who made three finals in the clay-court season, was arguably the biggest threat to overwhelming tournament favorite Iga Swiatek, who is on a 28-match win streak.

“Obviously I’m a little bit disappointed because I was expecting myself to go far in this tournament, especially with the clay season starting very well for me,” Jabeur said.

With her defeat, the new favorite to make the final from the bottom half is Sakkari followed by American Coco Gauff, another Sunday winner.

Muguruza, the 10th seed, would have been one of the favorites in the bottom half based on her form late last year, when she won the WTA Finals. But she has a losing record overall this year, and went out 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

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