Wildcard Jaimee Fourlis unexpectedly produced a tough fight against 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of the French Open, extending the former world number one to three sets and forcing her to battle for the win after 2 hours and 14 minutes of thrilling tennis.
Fourlis fails to take her chances
The huge underdog had the perfect start to the match as Wozniacki hit three consecutive unforced errors to gift the Australian the opening game of the match, with her groundstrokes looking wobbly in the opening stages. Nevertheless, playing on the second biggest court at a Grand Slam at the age of 17 surely brings her some nerves as three straight unforced errors in her first return game.
It continued to be a galore of unforced errors as both players looked inconsistent in their baseline game, but Fourlis did not slip up in her following game as she played some amazing offensive style of tennis to hold her serve. Despite looking like the more proactive player on the court, Fourlis was the first to get broken on her serve as another string of unforced errors allowed Wozniacki to have the early lead. Consolidating the break of serve, it seemed like Wozniacki would steamroll her way to clinch the set after gaining the momentum.
However, Fourlis proved everyone wrong when she fought her way back and getting the break back, leveling the scores at 4-4 all of a sudden. Looking like the fresher player on the court, Fourlis was still unable to go against the experience of the Dane as the former world number one broke serve at the crucial moment to have the golden opportunity to serve out the set.
Unexpectedly, Fourlis earned two break points while Wozniacki was serving for the set, and narrowly failed to take one of them as a big forehand went just wide to gift the Dane the perfect chance to get into the game. She did not let that opportunity go to waste as she outlasted Fourlis in a couple of long rallies, forcing her to commit unforced errors which resulted in her victory of the first set after 46 minutes of play.
Fourlis fights back
After losing the first set, most would have thought that Fourlis would falter and allow Wozniacki to stamp over her in the second set. However, she once again proved everyone wrong when she comfortably held her service in the opening game, looking very determined to send the match into a deciding set.
Despite wasting a 15-30 lead in the next game, the young Australian still managed to hold her serve to love before making the first breakthrough of the second set, relying on her powerful backhand to break Wozniacki’s serve and take a 3-1 lead. The talented rising star then endured through a marathon game which saw the Dane waste a break point in the process to consolidate the break and extend her lead to three games.
Fourlis had the chance to have a double break advantage as her offensive play brought about some free points for her but failed to convert a break point as she allowed Wozniacki a way back into the set. The former world number one took advantage of the smallest of opportunities as she broke straight back and remained level on serve all of a sudden. Despite so, the Australian did not get affected and maintained her composure, regaining the lead immediately in the next game. This time, she held onto the lead tightly as an upset seemed to be brewing after Fourlis served out the second set to love.
Wozniacki seals the win
Wozniacki had a fast start to the final set despite the tough challenge of Fourlis, who threatened to break in the opening game with some bullet-like winners. Four unforced errors then cost the Australian greatly as she gave away the first break of serve in the final set, allowing the Dane to take the early lead.
Coupled with the momentum, Wozniacki was finally able to dictate play and keep the rallies as long as possible, and it eventually saw her consolidating the break to lead 3-0. Fourlis finally got herself onto the scoreboard with a love service hold, before having the chance to break back in the next game after earning a break point.
However, the Australian was wasteful as she lost it with a backhand unforced error, allowing Wozniacki to narrowly hold serve and hold onto the advantage. The Dane then came from 15-30 down in the sixth game to hold serve and place herself just one game away from the win. Serving to stay in the match, unforced errors got the better of Fourlis as she eventually fell in three sets despite putting up a spirited performance.