An unseeded American woman beat a top-ranked player in the second round of U.S. Open on Thursday for the major tournament’s biggest upset so far. Taylor Townsend, who had to survive multiple qualifying matches in order to even play in the main draw the U.S. Open, beat Simona Haslep of Romania in tennis’ season-ending major tournament.
The 23-year-old Chicago native won 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, capping off the victory with an amazing tiebreak performance on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
After losing the first set, Townsend stormed back to win the second before forcing a decisive third set to oust the two-time major tournament winner who just happens to be the defending Wimbledon women’s champion.
With her win, Townsend put the remaining women on notice and became the latest Black woman to impress against heavily favored opponents in the tennis. That includes Naomi Osaka and Cori “Coco” Gauff, the latter of whom rose to international prominence when she beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon in London last month.
The Big Lead provided a brief recap to the milestone win for Townsend:
“Townsend dropped the first set 6-2, then found her footing in the second set and began crushing the ball. She won the second 6-3, and found herself in a tight battle in the third set. Townsend served for the match up 5-4 in the third but Halep battle back to break her. They were knotted at 5-5 in the third and Halep held serve, shifting to pressure back to Townsend at 6-5. She handled it, winning her service game to sent the match into a third-set tiebreak.
“Townsend won a dramatic tiebreak 7-4 to seal the biggest win of her young career.”
According to the WTA’s website, Townsend stands 5 feet, 7 inches tall and turned professional in 2012. The southpaw calls Atlanta home. While she has won more than $1.7 million in prize money for her career and about $330,000- this year, she has never won a major tournament, let alone a singles title. All of those statistics could change after Thursday’s win, especially her earning potential.
Townsend’s ranking of 116 was set to improve, as well, following her landmark victory.
The marathon continues for Townsend, who was set to face Sorana Cirstea — another Romanian — in the third round. Cirstea also won on Thursday in a similar, though not as big, comeback effort.
Scroll down to see some of the social media reactions to Townsend’s biggest win of her career.
This is a developing story that will be updated.