No.227-ranked wildcard Leolia Jeanjean thrilled her home crowd with a 6-2, 6-2 upset of No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova in 75 minutes to move into the Roland Garros third round.
Jeanjean, 26, had neither contested a tour-level main draw nor played a Top 50 player before this week. But she took out No.45-ranked Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the first round and claimed her first Top 10 win on Court Simonne-Mathieu in a display of flair and creativity.
The result continues a series of excellent performances from lower-ranked Frenchwomen at Roland Garros. Jeanjean joins Diane Parry, who ousted defending champion Barbora Krejcikova in her opener, in the third round. Additionally, Elsa Jacquemot made the second round, where she pushed Angelique Kerber, and Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, who gave Pliskova some trouble in the first round.
A college tennis standout at Lynn University, from where she graduated with an MBA in finance in 2019, Jeanjean played her first full pro season in 2021. That year, she rocketed from No.1180 to No.380 after compiling a 52-22 record. Jeanjean will next play Irina-Camelia Begu, who scored her fourth win in as many meetings over No.30 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4.
🇫🇷 Wildcard wonder 🇫🇷— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 26, 2022
In her maiden Grand Slam, world No.227 Leolia Jeanjean upsets No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2 for a first career top 10 win and third round#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/N01ZHyC2K2
Match management: Jeanjean is now 28-9 in 2022. From the start, Jeanjean's touch on the drop shot was evident. One brought up her first break point at 2-2, and she went on to convert when Pliskova double-faulted.
That was the start of an eight-game run for Jeanjean, who out-manoeuvred Pliskova with changes of spin, pace and direction to take a 6-2, 4-0 lead. The last of those games was the only one in which Jeanjean faced break points. She staved off two, the second with one of her finest drop shots of the day, to extend her lead.
Jeanjean dropped only seven points on her first serve.
Pliskova, who committed 28 unforced errors in the match, falls to 6-8 in 2022. Jeanjean becomes the third-lowest ranked player to defeat a Top 10 opponent this season, following No.409 Daria Saville's upset of Ons Jabeur in Indian Wells and No.231 Laura Siegemund's win (via retirement) over Maria Sakkari in Stuttgart. Unlike Jeanjean, Saville and Siegemund are both former Top 30 players returning from injury.
Jeanjean on her expectations before Roland Garros: "I'm very surprised. The Top 50 player I played during the first round, I won. I didn't know I would win. I was surprised. It seems that my level of play disturbs them. I thought that I would not win, but it's not the case. I'm very surprised, but I'm also very happy, because it means that maybe I have the level to be there on the tour.
"This match was full of emotions through and through. I managed to unroll my tactics to make her move back and forth, to put spin on my ball. I didn't know it would happen this way, once again. It's incredible thinking that I actually won in two sets against a Top 10 player, a previous No.1 worldwide. It's incredible."
Jeanjean on managing her emotions: "I'm quite surprised to keep my cool, to be as focused. Normally I easily get upset. I don't always have the best attitude on court, but since I arrived here I had a good behaviour. I'm quite surprised that I managed to handle my emotions, especially on a court like Simonne-Mathieu. It's the first time that I play in such a big stadium with so much crowd supporting me. I was very happy.
"I don't want to lose my cool. I don't want to lose energy. I'm very tense when I play. My heart is loud. I try to keep my breath, not to shout, because this would actually undermine my performance. That's the way I want to celebrate when I notch a win. That's it."
Badosa, Pegula come through tough tests
No.3 seed Paula Badosa, who overcame Kaja Juvan 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in 2 hours and 17 minutes, and No.11 seed Jessica Pegula, who withstood Anhelina Kalinina 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in 2 hours and 26 minutes, avoided upsets.
Juvan, 21, reached her first Hologic WTA Tour final in Strasbourg last week, where she lost a 3-hour, 16-minute title match to Angelique Kerber five days ago. The No.68-ranked Slovenian outplayed Badosa for long stretches of their first encounter. She surged back from 5-2 down in the first set to level at 5-5 and then delivered an impressive second set, dragging the Spaniard around the court with a series of pinpoint drop shots and lobs.
Juvan stood two points from a 6-5 lead when her focus wavered. A bout of unforced errors later, Badosa had regained the break and delivered a strong service game to steal the opening act.
Juvan received treatment on her back following the second set, and despite going an immediate break up in the decider, faded thereafter. Two points to go up 2-0 went begging; instead, Badosa rattled off 10 consecutive points en route to a 4-1 lead herself and rolled to the finishing line from there.
Pegula had needed 10 match points to close out Wang Qiang from 6-2, 5-1 up in the first round, eventually winning 6-2, 6-4, and Thursday a similar story played out against Kalinina.
Pegula, the Madrid finalist led 6-1, 5-1, but missed three match points serving for the match at 5-2. The No.36-ranked Ukrainian Kalinina essayed a remarkable turnaround, rattling off seven straight games to take a 1-0 lead in the third set.
Pegula gathered herself to take another double-break lead at 4-1, before Kalinina levelled at 4-4. The American broke again for 5-4, but Kalinina would valiantly fend off another four match points before Pegula finally converted her ninth with a backhand volley.
Badosa will next play No.29 seed Veronika Kudermetova, who eased past qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-3, for the third time in 2022. Kudermetova had won all three of their meetings prior to this season, but Badosa has lost just eight games combined across their matches in Indian Wells and Madrid.
Pegula will face No.24 seed Tamara Zidansek, the only one of last year's semifinalists to reach the third round this year. The Slovenian advanced via walkover after a foot injury forced Mayar Sherif to pull out.