- 30 Aug 2019
Taylor Townsend believes her stunning second-round US Open victory over Simona Halep was a “monumental moment” in proving to herself that she belongs on the biggest stage.
Townsend came from a set down to produce a thrilling comeback and eliminate the Wimbledon champion 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 23-year-old qualifier, once a world number one in the junior ranks, has faced criticism over her inability to progress from that point.
Townsend suffered a heart-breaking defeat to Kiki Bertens at Wimbledon, spurning match point with a poor drop shot, and was visibly emotional after claiming her third match point against fourth seed Halep to earn the biggest win of her career.
“Just to be able to get over the hump, it’s such an amazing feeling because, like, I mean, after Wimbledon, I was devastated after I lost to Bertens after having a match point,” Townsend told a media conference. “That, like, woke me up out of my sleep. Oh, drop shot.
“I put my head down and just worked really hard and just tried to take the positives away from it, just continue to press forward. I think for so long that’s been kind of my whole thing, is just continue to press forward and just realise that I belong on this level. I’ve had a lot of people doubting me being able to break through, quote unquote.
“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.
“I just feel like this was a huge, monumental moment. It was a very defining moment for me to realise that I belong here.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 29, 2019
Afterwards Halep revealed Townsend had asked her for advice after the Romanian emphatically beat her in Miami.
“My heart was beating through my chest when I talked to her because I’m not that kind of person at all. That’s just not anything that I would do,” Townsend said of their conversation.
“She gave me some good advice. Honestly, she didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t know, but it was good to hear it from another player, someone I just played, played a couple of times. Especially someone who is at such a high level, has accomplished so much.
“I don’t know why I did it, but I did it. It kind of stuck with me. I’m not saying that everything she said I implemented into my training, but it was definitely in the back of my head to remember what she said and also remember why I asked, what drove me to ask that question, kind of that hunger and desire to get better.”
“I think I kind of turned that into more of a positive to say, Hey, you can continue to learn and grow.”