One of the title favourites for this year’s women’s French Open Ons Jabeur went into full Wayne Rooney mode on Sunday as she volleyed a ball out of the court in anger during her match with Magda Linette. Jabeur was off the pace during her match in Paris as she ultimately suffered a shock first-round defeat.
Tunisian Jabeur, who is ranked No 6 in the world, had been tipped to land the trophy at Roland Garros after an impressive clay-court season. The 27-year-old came into the tournament off the back of winning the Madrid Open at the start of the month and reaching the final of the Italian Open last weekend.
And things appeared to be going her way against her Turkish opponent on Court Philippe-Chatrier as she won the first set 6-3. But Linette refused to throw in the towel as she battled to stay in the contest.
The pair exchanged backhands at deuce on Linette’s serve, with Jabeur attempting to break and move 5-3 ahead in the second set. But the Madrid Open champion hit her shot long as the umpire called the ball out.
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As the ball was played back over the net to Jabeur after the point had come to an end, she watched it onto her foot and launched a spectacular volley as her frustrations boiled over. And the incident clearly proved to be a turning points for the star as she went on to lose the second set on a tiebreak, before losing the third set 7-5 as her hopes of winning her first Grand Slam went up in smoke.
The volley was reminiscent of the one Rooney struck during Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Newcastle in April 2005. The former England international appeared frustrated and didn’t even seem interested in the action as he was seen remonstrating with the referee over a decision.
But as the ball was headed away by a Magpies defender, Rooney instinctively volleyed the ball – and it ended up in the top corner of the net. That goal levelled the scores and United eventually went on to win the match 2-1.
But while Rooney got the result he was after on that occasion, Jabeur did not on Sunday. “I had so many tough matches with Ons,” Linette said after her victory. “I knew how difficult it would be.
“I knew I had to be focused and play every point, try to make her uncomfortable and I’m happy I managed to make her fight for every single point. I know everyone really loves Ons but thanks everyone for coming and staying even when it started to rain. Thank you so much.”