By the way, this is Townsend’s first Grand Slam tournament. And she’s ranked number 205. And she outlasted Venus and Serena Williams, who own a combined 24 Grand Slam titles but lost earlier the same day.
Not bad for someone who almost lost her spot at the 2012 U.S. Open juniors tournament because of her weight. Never mind she had already won the girls singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open juniors that same year, and became the first American since 1982 to hold the year-end top junior ranking.
But at the United States Open junior tournament later that year, the United States Tennis Association wanted to keep her out of the tournament because it believed her physical conditioning was lacking, even though she was the top-ranked junior girl in the world. She entered the tournament anyway and reached the quarterfinals. Reports of the weight-based dispute quickly drew the ire of many.
Now Townsend is the youngest U.S. woman in the third round at Roland Garros since 2003. Next is a match against number 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. If Townsend wins, she will be the youngest American to reach the fourth round in Paris since the Williams sisters in 1998.
“She’s an unpredictable player,” says Wednesday’s opponent, Cornet, whose best Grand Slam result was getting to the fourth round at the 2009 Australian open. She can play some amazing shots.”
“She has huge potential,” Cornet continues. “I will keep a close eye on her.”