Ons Jabeur overcomes challenges to win Madrid opener

Ons Jabeur thumbs up

Ons Jabeur’s first round match against Jasmine Paolini at the Madrid Open was contested in challenging conditions, and the Tunisian said that she struggled to find her rhythm.

The match was contested partially with the roof open before it was closed as the heavens opened.

To make matters worse, the first set also had to be halted due to a malfunctioning sound system of all things.

Changing conditions made it difficult for Jabeur to settle and the first set went to a tiebreak.

Jabeur found her game in a more settled second stanza which she took 6-1.

The eighth seed cut a relieved figure after the match.

“The whole match, obviously I didn’t want to play the way I wanted to play. But I’m glad I was able to get the win under such conditions. It changes from playing indoors to outdoors. But first match is always tough in a tournament. I’m happy that I got the win today and hopefully the level will be much better for the next matches.”

Paolini might equally claim that conditions weren’t exactly in her favour, and she suffered a loss of momentum having taken an early 3-0 lead only to see play suspended briefly.

Jabeur took advantage, however, while she was able to restore parity she couldn’t land the killer blow until the tiebreak.

The second set was a formality as Jabeur settled into her game which was clearly a few levels above what Paolini could bring.

Madrid Open 15th seed Victoria Azarenka followed Jabeur onto the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium, beating Viktorija Golubic 7-6(5), 6-3 in 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Golubic took an early lead but after Azarenka fought back the battle between WTA Tour veterans became one-sided.

Azarenka will face Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in the second round of the Madrid Open.

Karolína Muchová also battled past Zheng Qinwen 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 25 minutes on a busy opening day of the main draw.

Home favourite Paula Badosa started her campaign with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Veronika Kudermetova.

World No 52 Nuria Parrizas Diaz made her Madrid Open debut with a sound 6-4, 6-2 victory over Sorana Cirstea giving her a first top 30 scalp.