French Open: Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur drawn to play Magda Linette in first round

Ons JABEUR of Tunisia during the fifth round of Roland Garros at Roland Garros on June 5, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthieu Mirville/Icon Sport)

Tunisian tennis trailblazer Ons Jabeur will play Poland’s Magda Linette in the first round of the French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year.

The match will be a repeat of last year’s meeting in the third round of the same tournament in which Jabeur rallied from a set down to win in three sets and went on to reach the Round of 16.

FILE PHOTO: Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in action during the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. /CFP

Overall the pair has met four times with Jabeur winning thrice, including their most recent match at the Miami Open in March.

Jabeur comes into the tournament in fine form having reached the finals of the last two major tune-up events ahead of the French Open. The 27-year-old won the Madrid Open, her first WTA 1000 title but lost the Italian Open to world number one Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur, seeded sixth, has been installed as one of the pre-tournament favorites alongside Swiatek, Spain’s Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Also representing Africa in the women’s draw will be Egyptian Mayar Sherif, who, like Jabeur, is also heading into the tournament on a high.

The 26-year-old will face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk hoping to progress beyond the first round at Roland Garros for the first time.

Sherif is fresh from defending her singles title at the Liqui Moly Open in Karlsruhe propelling her to a career-high ranking of world number 50. Sherif also partnered with Hungarian Panda Udvardy to capture the doubles title at the same event.

In the men’s draw, Lloyd Harris of South Africa will play against veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet. 25-year-old Harris is the continent’s sole male representative after former world number five and compatriot KevinAnderson announced his retirement prior to the tournament.

The French Open gets underway on May 22 and runs until June 5.