By Mike McIntyre
Photography: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
It is rare to see Tunisia steal the spotlight in the tennis world but that was the case on Wednesday with 22 year old Ons Jabeur shocking 6th seeded Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Jabeur capture the Junior Roland Garros crown back in 2010 and played with incredible confidence in her match against Cilbulkova. She is the first Arab female tennis player to ever make the third round of a Grand Slam. Prior to this tournament she last qualified for the main draw of a major at the 2015 U.S. Open but had never actually won a round until here in Paris. Jabeur will next face Timea Bacsinszky the 30th seed.
Cibulkova was one of the players I thought was flying under the radar despite her high seeding. I guess it turns out there was a reason nobody was really mentioning her along with the Halep's and Svitolina's of the world. For someone who had made the quarter-finals in 2012 and the semi-finals in 2009 this is surely a great disappointment.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands got her first ever victory against 15th seeded Petra Kvitova 7-6(5), 7-6(5). For Kvitova the result must still seem like a win after her playing career was in doubt after a knife attack at her apartment back in December. Mattek-Sands presented a tricky and experienced opponent and the Czech's conditioning still needs some time to get back to her usual self.
Transitioning to grass court tennis after the French Open will surely give Kvitova the chance to rediscover her form and despite the long layoff she will be considered a top contender at Wimbledon next month.
Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki put on a clinic against a much younger and less experienced opponent. She double bageled 20 year old Canadian Françoise Abanda in their second round match. Wozniacki has a nice opportunity in her section of the draw with seeds like Kerber, Bertens and Vinci already out of the draw. She is on track for a fourth round meeting against 2009 Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who also advanced today.
While the young Abanda must be feeling down after the thumping by Wozniacki, she has made it to the second round of a Slam for the first time in her career and is solidifying herself as the second ranked Canadian female tennis player behind Genie Bouchard.
Some Americans are proving they can still win on clay as Shelby Rogers won 7-6, 6-4 against Çağla Büyükakçay. Rogers will next play against 13th seed Kristina Mladenovic who dispatched Sara Errani today.
Büyükakçay who is from Turkey surprised Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the opening round but then as is so often the case could not sustain the momentum from the upset in her next match.
18 year old CiCi Bellis was another American who won on Wednesday by a score of 6-3, 7-6(5) over Kiki Bertens the 18th seed. It doesn't get any easier for the young Bellis who is currently ranked 48th in the world as she will next face Wozniacki.
Bertens was a Roland Garros semifinalist just a year ago and will be losing some significant ranking points with the loss.
Another youngster who is having early success in Paris is 19 year old Jelena Ostapenko who looked quite focused while taking to the court against Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig. The Latvian won 6-3, 6-2 to set up a match versus Lesia Tsurenko in a suddenly wide open top quarter of the draw. Between the two of them, Mattek-Sands and Sam Stosur, one will be guaranteed of making the quarter-finals.