Leylah Fernandez follows through on a serve at the French Open. She lost to Ons Jabeur on Friday at Roland-Garros.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Leylah Annie Fernandez was unable to solve the riddle that is Ons Jabeur on Friday at Roland-Garros, falling to the world No. 9 in straight sets. 

The Tunisian defeated Fernandez earlier in the clay season in Madrid and had all the answers once again in Paris, taking everything the Canadian threw at her in a 6-4, 7-6(5) win. Jabeur now leads their head-to-head 4-0. It was the first meeting between the pair that did not go three sets. 

There was little between the two women in the nearly-two-hour battle. Jabeur finished with two more winners, 26 to 24, and they both had 27 unforced errors. The eighth seed managed to apply a bit more pressure on return, winning 55 per cent of the Canadian’s second serve points and converting three of seven break point chances.  

The cat and mouse game started quickly when Fernandez set up a break point in the fourth game with a volley winner, but Jabeur saved it with an ace. In the following game, the Canadian pulled off an escape of her own when Jabeur netted back-to-back forehands from double break point up and then the Lavaloise hit a volley winner at 40-AD to save a third break point, eventually holding. 

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At 3-3, Fernandez gave Jabeur a free break when she double-faulted down break point. But Jabeur returned the favour in the following game, committing three straight unforced errors from game point up to put the set back on serve. 

However, the Canadian could not taking advantage of the reprieve. Jabeur came out swinging in the next game, powering to a love-40 advantage where Fernandez netted a volley to fall behind 5-4, where the Tunisian served out the opening set. 

Every time Fernandez seemed to make progress, Jabeur was able to hang in. The Canadian took advantage of some mistakes from the Tunisian to break for a 3-1 lead in the second set, only to play an error-filled game of her own to put the set back on serve. 

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Fernandez kept having chances to extend the match but could not take advantage. She had a set point at 5-4 on Jabeur’s serve but sliced a backhand long. Then in the tiebreak, she took a minibreak lead 4-3 when the Tunisian missed a forehand, but Jabeur responded with a spectacular forehand winner down the line to immediately get it back. 

On Fernandez’s serve at 5-6, Jabeur got her running and eventually punched a forehand into the open court to bring an end to the Canadian’s run. 

Both Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will be in action on Friday. Bianca Andreescu will play her third-round match on Saturday.