Jabeur bounces back at French Open


PARIS (AP) — Ons Jabeur got a do-over on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open and won this time.

A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 Tuesday to help erase some bad memories for the Tunisian and answer questions about a recent calf injury.

On his return to Roland Garros after badly damaging an ankle in the semifinals against Rafael Nadal last year, Alexander Zverev also advanced in straight sets.

Jabeur, 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.

Zverev, the No. 22 seed in Paris, reached the second round with a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (0), 6-1 win over Lloyd Harris and improved his unbeaten record against the South African to 4-0. Zverev has been struggling to get back to his best since he retired in pain against Nadal and later underwent surgery, but he has shown progress recently ahead of the French Open.

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.

Two seeded players in the women’s bracket lost earlier Tuesday: No. 25 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine lost to wild card Diane Parry of France 6-2, 6-3; and No. 31 Marie Bouzkova fell to Chinese player Xinyu Wang 6-4, 7-6 (5).

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 Nadal last year at Roland Garros.

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