Sometimes having a successful junior career can be a blessing and a curse. Flash back to 2012, and Taylor Townsend was labeled by many as “the next Serena Williams.” The expectations only got higher after winning the Australian Open Juniors tournament at the young age of 15. Some players handle all of the hype differently, but Townsend is a veteran on tour at 22 years old with her best tennis still ahead of her.
While Townsend hasn’t done much winning on the WTA tour as of late, she’s found a way to build her ranking on the ITF circuit, which many players do throughout their careers. Whether or not she can take the next step in her career and win on the big stage is still to be seen, but she’s shown positive signs as of late, and the WTA main draw wins may not be too far away.
Townsend’s ITF success pushed her inside the top 100, which is precisely what it’s designed to do. She earned direct entry into Wimbledon and now finds herself in the second round with a little bit of luck on her side. When the draw was released many expected Townsend to face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round, but Kvitova was upset by Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Sometimes in slams, all it takes is a little luck to go your way for a career-changing run.
Townsend is looking to reach the third round at a Grand Slam for the second time in her career. In 2014 she reached the third round at Roland Garros defeating Alize Cornet en route to what looked like her breakthrough on the WTA tour at the time.
Thursday;s third round match will be the first meeting between Townsend and Sasnovich. It will be interesting to see how Sasnovich follows up the biggest upset of the opening round. Townsend’s unique style of play can be tricky to play against on the grass, and even more so since the two haven’t played before.
Regardless of the result, I think everyone will see a lot of Taylor Townsend this summer on the U.S. hard court swing leading up to the final Grand Slam of the year in New York. If this week isn’t a breakthrough for Townsend, it can certainly be looked at as a step in the right direction.
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