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Townsend records breakthrough win in Paris

May 28, 2014 03:03 PM
Taylor Townsend looked elated after recording a huge upset over No. 20 seed Alize Cornet.

By McCarton Ackerman and Sandra Harwitt, USTA.com

USTA wild card Taylor Townsend has made this year's French Open her coming out party, shocking the French crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen and No. 20 seed Alize Cornet with a stunning, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 upset in the second round.

The 18-year-old, currently ranked No. 205, blasted winners from the baseline and made plenty of timely trips to the net throughout the match. Despite showing signs of nerves at the end and needing five match points to close things out, she kept her cool when it mattered most and showed off an ear-to-ear smile after the victory. No less of an authority than 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray sung her praises during the match, tweeting "How good is Taylor Townsend!! #talent"

USTA Player Development awarded Townsend a wild card by her accumulating the greatest number of WTA ranking points at a series of $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events this spring. Townsend clinched the wild card by winning the singles titles in Charlottesville, Va., and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. She will play No. 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the third round.

No. 10 seed John Isner came through a characteristically tight match filled with tiebreakers, needing more than three hours to move past Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4). He'll be aiming to reach the second week of the French Open for the first time when he plays No. 17 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain in the third round.

Steve Johnson also completed his marathon comeback against qualifier Laurent Lokoli of France, recording his first win at the French Open, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-3. He'll play fellow American Jack Sock for a place in the third round on Thursday.

The wins from Americans on the men's and women's side softened the blow from the stunning defeat of No. 1 seed Serena Williams, who lost 2-6, 2-6 to Grabine Mugurza of Spain. The No. 1 player in the world and French Open defending champion, a player normally feared by one and all opponents, had nothing to give in a performance that betrayed the 17 Grand Slam titles she owns.

“I don’t think anything worked for me today, which is just nothing really worked,” said Serena, offering an honest assessment of an unsatisfactory 64-minutes on court. “I don’t know anything that actually worked.”

And that about says all you need to know.

Her serves, normally a ferocious weapon, limped across the net. Her groundstrokes failed to crack the sound barrier with their velocity and power. Her play at the net - well let’s just say she lost all five points she came in on. Her normally impactful aggressive game obviously took a time out.

“It was one of those days,” Serena said. “You know, you can’t be on every day, and gosh, I hate to be off during a Grand Slam. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. It is what it is.”

Big sister and No. 31 seed Venus Williams didn't fare much better in losing, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, to Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia. She appeared fatigued as the match hit the two-hour mark, but never stopped trying to figure out a way to win the third set.

“In the second and third, I think I made too many errors,” Venus said. “And I think she just played so well and just kept getting so many balls in the court. It just wasn’t my day in the last couple of sets.”

Americans Sam Querrey and Varvara Lepchenko also lost their second round matches during Wednesday's schedule of play.

In addition to the Sock-Johnson match, several other Americans will play their second round matches on Thursday, including No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Alison Riske, Coco Vandeweghe and Donald Young.



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