Ons Jabeur and Iga Swiatek stroll into French Open second round

Tunisian eighth seed and Polish world No 1 both secure straight-sets victories at Roland Garros

Ons Jabeur after her straight-sets victory over Sachia Vickery at the French Open in Paris on May 27, 2024. AFP
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Ons Jabeur started her French Open campaign with a comfortable victory over wild card Sachia Vickery on Monday while world No 1 Iga Swiatek also eased into the second round at Roland Garros.

Eighth seed Jabeur has endured an injury-hit 2024 and was bundled out in the second round of the season-opening major when she was hammered 6-0, 6-2 by teenage debutant Mirra Andreeva in less than an hour at the Australian Open.

In the run-up to Slam No 2 of the year, Jabeur reached the quarter-final in Madrid – where she suffered a third-set collapse against Madison Keys – which was followed by a disappointing opening-round exit in Rome to Sofia Kenin.

Facing an American opponent for the third match in a row, Jabeur made no mistake on the Paris clay. The 29-year-old quickly racked up a 3-0 lead, but Vickery reduced the gap with a break of her own, only to hand the momentum back to the former Wimbledon [2022 and 2023] and US Open [2022] runner-up.

The Tunisian closed out the opening set, even as the roof closed over Court Philippe Chatrier due to rain, before taking control of the second as No 124-ranked Vickery struggled to make an impact against the 2023 quarter-finalist who eased to a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 81 minutes.

“I aim for a deep run,” said Jabeur, who will face Anhelina Kalinina or Camila Osorio in the second round. “I did a wonderful preparation. I practised a lot, and I never dropped a set during practice sessions.

“I hope that I will see that again on the major courts, such as Philippe Chatrier, and I hope to get the upper hand every time. But I will see it point after point, ball after ball, game after game, and we'll see.”

Top seed Swiatek enjoyed an even quicker path into Round 2 after demolishing home hope Leolia Jeanjean 6-2, 6-1 in just 61 minutes on the main showcourt.

The 22-year-old Pole is aiming to become the first woman to win three straight Roland Garros titles since Justine Henin in 2007, and only the second ever after Serena Williams to win the Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same year.

Victory for Swiatek means she is now on a 13-match winning streak as she looks to win the French Open title for a fourth time in the last five years and becomes the first woman to win 15 consecutive matches at Roland Garros since Henin (24 between 2005-10).

Swiatek did not need much time to show she was determined to stretch that winning run, breaking her opponent in the first game. A superb forehand down the line put Swiatek 4-1 up before running away with the first set in half an hour.

The Frenchwoman, ranked outside the top 100, tried to draw a line under the first set, breaking the Pole at the start of the second outing but was broken straight back.

Swiatek held serve before earning another break to go 5-2 up, having hit 24 winners at that stage compared to her opponent's two. She ended the contest on her first match point and with winner No 26.

“Thank you guys for coming, it feels like home here. Hopefully, I'm going to be here as long as possible,” Swiatek – now 29-2 at Roland Garros – said to Eurosport after the match.

“This last tournament gave me a lot and I managed to play tennis in any conditions and under any circumstances. Every tournament is different and the next chapter.”

Next up will be an intriguing clash with fellow four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka who won her opening match on Sunday 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 against Italy's Lucia Bronzetti.

Osaka defeated Swiatek nearly five years ago in Toronto – when she was only 18 – but the Pole won their most recent match, two years ago in the Miami final.

“I'm honestly really excited,” said the Japanese former world No 1. “I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. And honestly, I think it's an honour to play her in the French Open, because she's won more than once here. It's a very big honour and challenge for me.

“In a weird way, I definitely do feel like it's a test to see where I'm at, but I wouldn't say I have low expectations of myself. I'm a person that kind of thinks that I can win every match that I play. That's got me this far. I would never play a match thinking lowly of myself.”

Updated: May 27, 2024, 2:14 PM