It’s hard to explain – Leolia Jeanjean stunned by win against Karolina Pliskova

The 26-year-old wildcard, ranked 227 in the world, beat last year’s Wimbledon runner-up 6-2 6-2.

By Press Association Published: 26 May 2022 - 5.32pm

Little-known Frenchwoman Leolia Jeanjean caused a sensation at Roland Garros by knocking out eighth seed Karolina Pliskova.

The 26-year-old wildcard, ranked 227 in the world, beat last year’s Wimbledon runner-up 6-2 6-2.

In doing so Jeanjean became the lowest-ranked woman to win a match against a top-10 player at the French Open since Conchita Martinez beat Lori McNeil in 1988.

It is a remarkable achievement for a player who was a talented junior but who gave up tennis for almost five years after suffering a serious knee injury.

“I don’t really know what to say actually because what’s happening right now, it’s really something I never imagine before,” Jeanjean said.

“You know, when I stopped playing for four, five years, I never told myself I’d be in the third round of a grand slam.

“I don’t have an explanation. I don’t even realise what’s happening. I know I’m 26. It’s my first grand slam. I thought I would have lost in the first round in two sets, and now I found myself beating a top-10 player.

France Tennis French Open
Karolina Pliskova was on the end of a shock defeat (Thibault Camus/AP)

“I don’t really know how it’s possible, what’s happening. I just try to give my best to play my tennis, and it’s working so far.

“When I stopped playing when I was young, I just wanted to give myself another chance, because in my head since I was good when I was like 14, 15, so I’m like, ‘why I can’t be good 10 years later?’.

“So that’s why, yeah, I took my chance, and so far it’s working.”

Jeanjean will play Irina-Camelia Begu, who knocked out 30th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, in the third round.

Begu was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a warning after bouncing her racquet on the floor in frustration and watching it spin up into the crowd, apparently leaving a child in tears.

She said: “Well, it’s an embarrassing moment for me, so I don’t want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologise.

“In my whole career I didn’t do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I’m just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

“It was a difficult moment because I didn’t want to hit that racquet, you know. It was, you know, you hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect it to fly that much.”

Simona Halep, the 2018 champion, bowed out 2-6 6-2 6-1 against China’s Qinwen Zheng.

The Romanian is another obstacle out of the path of world number one Iga Swiatek, who continued her almost inexorable march to the title and took her winning streak to 30 matches by dismantling Alison Riske 6-0 6-2.

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