French Open: Wildcard Jeanjean stuns Pliskova

Leolia Jeanjean
Leolia Jeanjean celebrates winning her second round match against Karolina Pliskova. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

French wildcard Leolia Jeanjean caused a major upset at the French Open when she destroyed former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2 in the second round on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Jeanjean is a former big hope of French tennis who ended up living on minimum wage after a knee injury suffered when she was 15 kept her off the courts for two years.

Dropped by Nike, who had given her a 10-year sponsorship deal, and by the French federation, who had assigned her a full-time coach when she was 12, Jeanjean went to study in the United States at the Lynn University in Florida.

Leolia Jeanjean
Leolia Jeanjean in action against Karolina Pliskova. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

She came back to tennis after five years in the US only for her return to be slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I lived on minimum wage and I didn't live from day-to-day, but week after week. I put all the money I had into a week's worth of tournaments and if they went well I got another week, but if they went badly I didn't play for two months because it was financially impossible," she said.

On Thursday, Jeanjean outfoxed eighth seed Pliskova, a semifinalist here in 2017, to get into the third round.

"I could not try to overpower her, it was impossible, so I had to try to derail her and it worked perfectly," she said on court Simonne Mathieu.

Karolina Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova in action against Leolia Jeanjean. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

Jeanjean, whose early rise had drawn comparisons with Martina Hingis, will next face Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, the 30th seed, or Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu.

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