US Open fans got their money’s worth in the afternoon session at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday. At the heart of the crown jewel of Flushing, American Taylor Townsend advanced to the Third Round of the US Open by defeating the reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). It was a thriller of a match, with both players missing gutwrenching shots in front of a pro-American crowd, with NBA legend Kobe Bryant watching on. The match wound up becoming one of the most intense ones of the first week at the Open.
A Struggle From Start To Finish
Both players were playing well, but not solidly or consistently as expected. Townsend tallied a staggering total of 16 unforced errors in the first set. In the second, Halep was the one who missed opportunities and gave up three double-faults. The Romanian chose to not play by the net whereas her opponent did position herself aggressively, and won 15 total net points in that set.
Halep came slightly unglued in the second game of the third set, facing a 2 games to love deficit, when she took out her frustration out on her racket. Taylor Townsend continued to play by the net and won the crowd over with her precision and intensity. However, Townsend committed two straight double-faults at 3-all to take the crowd on an uneasy mental roller coaster. The American did take the lead after seven games but then showed more signs of a jittery player faced with finishing off a match of a lifetime. Townsend had impressive court coverage and efficient movement, but shots off her racket came up short. Halep had managed to capitalize on her opponent’s 19 unforced errors, dispatched one match point, and forced a third set tiebreak with solid, decisive shots that one would expect. Only those in Halep’s box was standing and passionately cheering, in a venue that was on Townsend’s side from the beginning.
Townsend got off to a 2-0 lead in the final set tie-break before Simona got even with consistent play, making it 3-all after 6 points. Townsend would then score 3 straight points at 4-all to close out the intense Second Round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. She is slated to play Saturday, against Sorana Cirstea who dispatched Aliona Bolsova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Taylor has continued her form of winning tennis from earlier this summer after her tour in World TeamTennis. She played as the Women’s Singles specialist for the Philadelphia Freedoms, and achieved a stellar 58-50 total of game wins-losses in singles, and was also in a Women’s Doubles partnership with Raquel Atawo, who won WTT Female Season MVP award. The Philadelphia Freedoms attained a league-best record of 11 match wins and 3 losses.