NEW YORK — Taylor Townsend pulled off the biggest shock of the U.S. Open as she came from a set down to stun fourth seed Simona Halep in the second round.
Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, was expected to have few problems against the qualifier and world No. 116, but was on the end of a remarkable comeback as Townsend prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.
Townsend became the first American player since Serena Williams (in 2008) to knock off the defending Wimbledon champ at the U.S. Open.
Halep took the first set in dominant fashion, but Townsend found inspiration in the second set and brought the Arthur Ashe crowd to life in New York.
The former girls' No. 1 demonstrated outstanding reflexes at the net and took the contest to Halep as she set up a decider.
— WTA (@WTA) August 29, 2019
Townsend has to this point been unable to deliver on the potential she displayed as a junior, but she continued on the attack and punished the Halep second serve, breaking to love in game five.
Having only once previously reached the third round of a grand slam, any nerves on Townsend's part would have been understandable.
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They promptly showed up as she let three match points go begging when serving for the match as Halep found her best tennis in the closing moments.
However, Halep wasted a match point of her own, setting up a frenetic tie-break that was settled when the Romanian fired into the net to an eruption from the home crowd as an emotional Townsend raised her arms and celebrated the biggest win of her career.