Thursday, August 29, 2019

Townsend takes out Wimbledon champ Halep

   For the fourth consecutive match, Taylor Townsend won after dropping the first set.
   This one, however, was special.
   The 23-year-old qualifier from Atlanta knocked off fourth-seeded Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) today in the second round of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   "It's been a really long journey," the 116th-ranked Townsend, a left-hander who played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis at 17 in 2013, told reporters. "You flood with emotions of the things you've been through – positive, negative ... 
   "It's just confirmation more for myself that I'm on the right path, doing the right things. You keep your head down and keep working, and you see what happens."
   Townsend, who had never won more than four games in a set in three career matches against Halep, is scheduled to play another Romanian, unseeded Sorana Cirstea, on Saturday. The 29-year-old Cirstea, ranked 106th after reaching a career-high No. 21 in 2013, defeated Aliona Bolsova of Spain 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
   Wild card Kristie Ahn, a 27-year-old Stanford graduate, needed eight match points to defeat Russia's Anna Kalinskaya, a 20-year-old qualifier, 6-2, 6-3. Kalinskaya ousted 11th-seeded Sloane Stephens, the U.S. Open champion two years ago, on Tuesday.
   Ahn, who lives a 30-minute drive from Flushing Meadows in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., set up a rematch against unseeded Jelena Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open two days after turning 20 and last year became the first Latvian woman to reach the Wimbledon semifinals.
   Ahn shocked the top-seeded Ostapenko 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the first round on clay at Bogota in April in their only other career meeting.
   Coco Gauff, a 15-year-old U.S. sensation, outlasted Timea Babos, ranked No. 112 in singles and No. 3 (formerly No. 1) in doubles, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to become the youngest player to reach the third round of the U.S. Open since Anna Kournikova, also 15, in 1996.
   Gauff will meet top seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka, who eliminated Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-4 in a blockbuster match on Saturday.
    Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old qualifier from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, lost to 17th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-2 in 3 hours, 4 minutes.
   Brooksby, who will jump from No. 394 to No. 271 after the U.S. Open, led 4-0 in the second set and served for it at 5-4. He plans to enroll at Baylor in January but could turn pro instead.
   Basilashvili trained with Dmitry Tursunov, now the coach of 13th-ranked Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, at the Gorin Tennis Academy in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay.
   Tim Smyczek, 31, ended his career with a first-round doubles loss. In a matchup of U.S. wild-card teams, Martin Damm, 15, and Toby Kodat, 16, defeated Mitchell Krueger and Smyczek 7-6 (6), 7-5.
   In other opening-round men's doubles matches:
   –Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) edged Americans Thai-Son Kwaitkowski and Noah Rubin 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
   –No. 10 seeds Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain beat unseeded Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, 6-4, 6-2.
   In the first round of mixed doubles, Raquel Atawo (Cal, 2001-04) of San Jose and Fabrice Martin of France nipped seventh-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Oliver Marach of Austria 2-6, 6-4 [10-8].
   Here are the U.S. Open men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles draws and Friday's schedule.

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