PARIS—Your move, Ons Jabeur.

Daria Kasatkina struck an early contender for Shot of the Tournament during her 6-3, 6-4 victory over 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova, bringing the Court Suzanne-Lenglen crowd to its feet with the help of a monster tweener at Roland Garros.

“I’m not going to lie; I was practicing this shot a lot,” she said on court after the match. “When I was kid, I was maybe 10 years old, at home, practicing this shot against the wall. I was hitting the wall, lobbing and going for tweeners all the time. It would take me two hours every day.

“It’s not luck,” she adds with a smile. “I was practicing this shot and finally it pays off!”

Kasatkina is coming off a semifinal finish on the terre battue last year, but arrived in Paris somewhat under the radar after falling just before the quarterfinals at both the Mutua Madrid Open and Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

But the No. 9 seed effortlessly put herself back in the conversation against Vondrousova, rallying from a break down the opening set to secure the one hour and 42-minute win.


The tweener is a shot synonymous with Roland Garros, famously struck by Mary Pierce en route to her 2000 Roland Garros victory, and crafty players like Jabeur and Bianca Andreescu have been practicing their proverbial “Hail Mary” passes in practice.

“She's teaching me how to hit a tweener,” Andreescu said of Jabeur after winning her first round on Tuesday night. “I have a video of me making one. I was going to post it on social media, but I was going to wait. I think now is a good time to.

“She's a good teacher. I'll say that.”

Who will be next to leave the Roland Garros breathless before the start of the second week?