Qualifier Taylor Townsend Backs Up Win over Simona Halep by Beating Sorana Cirstea to Reach US Open Fourth
(August 31, 2019) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Qualifier Taylor Townsend backed up her win over No. 4 Simona Halep in the second round by beating her Romanian countrywoman in the third round. The American rallied from 1-3 down in the first set to beat Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 6-2 in and hour and 27-minutes to reach the fourth round of the US Open, the furthest she’s ever been at a major tournament.
The 23-year-old ranked 116th in the world continued to play her unique serve-and-volley game, charging the net 53 times and winning 47 out of 75 net points.
“I mean, it definitely showed against Halep that (serve and volley) it works,” Townsend said to media. “I played my first round and I definitely didn’t come in as much, but I was doing it and I was trying to be a little more cognizant of it. Once I saw that it worked and, you know, the effect that I had, I tried to implement it as much as I could.
“I got passed. She hit good shots. It’s just something when you play this game style it’s just a part of it and you just have to keep plugging way. I think that’s the hardest part.
“Honestly I just go into it and try to deal with each player that I have and each opponent that I have and what will be the best strategy in order for me to win.”
Asked about whether or not whether she was glad to go through the struggles to get to where she is now, she answered: “I said it the other day: I wouldn’t change anything because I appreciate so much where I am, because I know where I came from. And I think, like, it’s easy for people to forget where they came from.
‘I mean, I remember when I was grinding quallies at 25s, when I quit tennis for three days, that’s how long I lasted.
“But when my ranking went from 90 to 400 literally over the course of a day, I went from being main draw of slams to quallies and 25s. Losing. I went one year and I won four matches in a calendar year.
“So, I mean, I understand and I’m appreciative where I am and the growth I’ve made because you’re able to kind of say this is where I came from and be able to not go through those same things again and you can kind of learn from your mistakes and move on.”
Townsend will take on Indian Wells and Toronto winner Bianca Andreescu. The Canadian, seeded 15th, stopped former US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki seeded 19th 6-4, 6-4.
“I think if anything I wish I could have served better today,” said Wozniacki. “It wasn’t as easy with the sun, obviously for both of us. But if there is one thing that I could change, it would probably be that.
“Otherwise I think she’s playing very well and, you know, mixing up the pace. She’s taking it early. She has a lot of shots in her game that she can pull out. I tried my best. I fought hard. That’s it.”
“I started off the match pretty well, and then the second set, as well,” said the Canadian. “I was up 3-Love but then as expected she found a way and she changed a couple of things. I felt like I relaxed a little bit.
“But then I put things together, and then I managed to pull through in the end.”
Andreescu talked about how she admired Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters, as Wozniacki said in her news conference that the Canadian reminded her of the Belgian. “I actually looked up to her a lot while I was just coming up, when I started playing tennis. So that’s really nice to hear from other players, because I think my game is pretty similar to hers. Not as good yet.
“But, yeah, she’s an incredible fighter. She’s very solid all around. She can volley, she can slice, dropshot. And she’s very consistent, as well. She chooses her targets and she has a very good serve and return. She’s very strong mentally.”
The Canadian will be facing off against Townsend for a spot in the quarterfinals. Asked about the match-up, she said : “I’m not really focusing on that right now, but I’m going to go into it like I do every other match. Going to prepare like I always prepare. I played doubles against her actually yesterday. I kind of know what to expect. I know she loves coming to the net. She has incredible volleys.
“I’ll for sure work on some passing shots tomorrow during my practice.”
“(Playing an American) I think it gives me an extra push, but I felt the crowd even today. But even when we played Taylor and Whitney in doubles, I felt a lot of the crowd support, as well.”
“There aren’t a lot of players that play like her, so I’m going to do my best to figure out what to do when she comes to the net. Like I said, I’m going to work on my passing shots tomorrow and stay as aggressive as I can.”
Twenty-fifth seed Elise Mertens has reached the round of 16 for the second straight year, beating Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-3.
Wild card Kristie Ahn served out her victory over Jelena Ostapenko with an ace for then 6-3,7-5 victory. The unseeded American, currently ranked 141 in the world is into her first fourth round at a major, 11 years after her US Open debut.
She came into the tournament without a match win at a major, now she’s in the second week.
Ahn, from New Jersey earned her wild card through the USTA’s US Open Wild Card Challenge and was the first Challenge winner male or female, to reach the round of 16 at the US Open in eight years of the Challenge.
“It’s always going to be a tough battle with her,” Ahn said of playing the fiery Ostapenko. “I’m just really proud of how I was able to stay mentally focused and not let the nerves get the best of me.
“She’s come back from pretty much every score possible probably, so I was really keen on getting first match point done.”
There are now four women in the round of 16 at the US Open
“I think it’s awesome,” said Taylor Townsend. “It just shows the depth. Kristie Ahn who is a wildcard, and I think it was her second time or first, maybe debut playing in the US Open.
“I think it’s amazing. I think that everybody’s journey should be highlighted. Just not when you’re doing well. I think that is amazing. I’m really happy to be a part of it.”
Ahn’s next opponent will be Elise Mertens.
“So I played her here in 2016, last round of quallies. That was my first time playing in quallies in the US Open since high school, 2009. It was a really tight, close match. I remember feeling so nervous, feeling just so disappointed when I lost a tight second set, I think. Then she became top 20 in the world. Okay, cool.
“Then the last time we played, I think it was her first hard court match, her first match since Wimbledon, her first hard court of the season, and I had probably six or seven. To kind of put those together, it will be really cool. Obviously we’re both in very different places from both of those tournaments.
“I think it will just come down to who’s able to take in the moment better because obviously we’re both playing pretty good tennis right now.”