Thursday saw one of the biggest upsets so far at the US Open when unseeded American Taylor Townsend upset Wimbledon champion and No. 4 seed Simona Halep in the second round.
Halep cruised to a 6-2 victory in the first set. But Townsend responded with a dominant 6-3 second-set victory before winning the third in a tiebreak thriller for a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win over the two-time grand slam champion.
Townsend: “I just said F it’
“This means a lot,” Townsend said during her on-court interview as she choked back tears. “It’s been a long journey. ... I’ve had some really close matches this year and just haven’t been able to get over the hump. This match means so much and it gives me so much confidence to know that I can do it.
“I think when I’ve played her before, I was just trying to make balls. I think I played not to lose. And today I just played to win. I just said F it.”
Townsend played an aggressive game, with ESPN stats showing she approached the net more than 100 times during the match.
Townsend, 23, won the Australian Open junior championship at 15 years old, but had yet to break through on a grand slam stage. Holding a WTA ranking of 116 heading into the tournament, Townsend had to qualify just to get to this point.
She now has her grand slam breakthrough moment.
For Halep, it’s another disappointing exit at the US Open after losing in the first round in 2017 and 2018.
Townsend advances to face Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in third-round play.
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