Ons Jabeur overcomes challenges to win Madrid opener

Ons Jabeur’s first round match against Jasmine Paolini at the Madrid Open was played in difficult conditions, and the Tunisian said she was struggling to find her rhythm.

The match was played partially with the roof open before it was closed when the skies opened up.

To make matters worse, the first set also had to be cut short due to a faulty sound system.

The changing conditions made it difficult for Jabeur to settle in and the first set ended in a tie-break.

Jabeur found her game in a more stable second stanza which she won 6-1.

The eighth seed put on a relieved figure after the match.

“The whole game, obviously, I didn’t want to play the way I wanted to play. But I’m happy to have been able to win the victory in such conditions. It changes from playing inside to outside. But the first match is always difficult in a tournament. I’m happy to have won today and I hope the level will be much better for the next games.

Paolini could also claim the conditions weren’t exactly in her favour, and she suffered a loss of momentum after taking an early 3-0 lead only to see the game suspended briefly.

Jabeur took advantage, however, while she was able to restore parity, she was unable to deliver the killing blow until the tie-break.

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

Madrid Open 15th seed Victoria Azarenka followed Jabeur to 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 the WTA Tour veterans turned one-sided.

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

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

Home favorite 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 solid 6-4, 6-2 win over Sorana Cirstea to earn her first top-30 scalp.