A new feat for French women’s tennis at Roland-Garros. Léolia Jeanjean, 227th player in the world, offered herself, with style, the Czech Karolina Pliskova, 8th in the world, and qualified for the third round. The score is final: 6-2, 6-2 for the Frenchwoman.
Recipient of a wild card, the Frenchwoman, former hope of tricolor tennis, participates at the age of 26 in her first grand slam. To try to get her place in the round of 16, she will face either the Russian under neutral banner Ekaterina Alexandrova (31st) or the Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu (63rd). A second high-level performance after the victory of the young Diane Perry, 19, who had dismissed, on Tuesday, the defending champion and world number two, the Czech Barbora Krejcikova (1-6, 6-2, 6-3) .
Pliskova is the 6th member of the women’s top 10 who will not play the 3rd round at Porte d’Auteuil, following the early eliminations of Maria Sakkari, 3rd in the world and semi-finalist in Paris last year, Barbora Krejcikova (#2 and defending champion), Anett Kontaveit (#5), Ons Jabeur (#6) and Garbine Muguruza (#10).
Faced with a Pliskova, obviously not at best, Jeanjean imposed herself with authority. She won the first set in just 36 minutes against a Czech who broke down on serve (62% first serve, 4 double faults) and made a lot of mistakes with 15 unforced errors. The Frenchwoman then broke from the start of the second set, quickly leading 4-0, before winning on her first match point after only 1h15 of play.
“I don’t quite realize what’s going on. I find it just amazing,” said Jeanjean, all smiles on the court shortly after his victory. “I’m already happy to be here and to be able to play,” added the Frenchwoman, who had been away from the courts for several years.
From the age of 12, Jeanjean was considered a future star. She then saw her career abruptly halted by injuries, including a triple dislocation of the patella. She then left to study in the United States, only returning to high-level tennis at the end of 2020. Evolving on the secondary circuit, she won her first ITF title in April in Calvi, after a good start to the season (27 wins for nine defeats). “I wanted to come back to have no regrets. I think I made the right choice,” she said.
Pliskova had been somewhat manhandled by another Blue in the first round – Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, 141st in the world – who had stolen a set from her. The Czech, finalist of the last Wimbledon and the US Open 2016, had to give up her start to the season and the Australian Open due to a right forearm injury. She did not return to competition until March in Indian Wells and has since played few matches on clay, often being eliminated from entry into tournaments in which she took part. Last week, she had nevertheless reached the semi-finals in Strasbourg.