Townsend Reaches Third Round at French Open; Sock vs Johnson Thursday; Division III Titles to Amherst Men and Emory Women; Barry Women, West Florida Men No. 1 in Division II Final Rankings
Taylor Townsend made a successful main draw slam debut on Monday, defeating fellow American Vania King 7-5, 6-1. Townsend, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card with the French Tennis Federation by collecting two consecutive $50,000 tournament titles last month, had a more daunting challenge today, facing No. 20 seed Alize Cornet. Cornet, who won the girls title at Roland Garros in 2007 and is No. 1 in France, had the crowd behind her of course, but it was Townsend who showed the bigger game, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It wasn't easy however. Up a 4-1 and serving in the second set, the 18-year-old left-hander from Stockbridge, Ga. lost five straight games, but she regrouped in the third set, again using her power and touch to take a two-break lead. She held serve for 5-1, but Cornet saved four match points in the next game, then broke Townsend at love.
Cornet held for 5-4, and as a light drizzle began to fall, Townsend stepped to the line to serve for the match again. Cornet had played error-free tennis for several games, but the strain of constantly trailing finally got to her. At 30-all, Townsend didn't get her first serve in, but Cornet's forehand return of an unimpressive second serve went long to give Townsend her fifth match point. Again she failed to connect on a first serve, but she made the second and after a brief rally, Cornet netted a forehand to end the match.
Townsend had 43 winners to Cornet's 18, with nearly half of those won at the net, where she has always been comfortable. In the next round, Townsend will play No. 14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, another match that is winnable for her if she plays well.
Ben Rothenberg wrote this article on Townsend for the New York Times prior to the Cornet match, and it provides additional information on her coaching situation while also addressing the controversy over her fitness level. Doug Robson of USA Today has more on Townsend's match with Cornet here.
Steve Johnson completed an improbable comeback, defeating French qualifier Laurent Lokoli 4-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3, while saving two match points. Johnson trailed two sets to none and 4-0, but forced a fourth and fifth set, although he had to finish the match, which was suspended by darkness yesterday with Johnson leading 3-1, today.
For more on the match, see Peter Bodo's article on tennis.com.
Johnson will play Jack Sock in the second round on Thursday, with Sock getting a retirement from Nicolas Almagro of Spain on Tuesday after taking a 5-0 lead in the first set. Expect a tiebreaker in that match, as the two have split four matches with 5 of the 7 completed sets ending in tiebreakers.
For complete draws, schedule and results, see the French Open website.
While I was covering the NCAA Division I tournaments, the Division II and Division III champions were crowned, and I tweeted out links to the ncaa.com articles on them. The Amherst men, ranked No. 4, surprised No. 1 and host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-3 and the top-ranked Emory women defeated No. 2 Amherst 5-1. Joey Fritz of Amherst and Gabby Clark of Emory won the individual titles. For a recap of the Division III tournaments, see this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.
The West Florida men won the Division II title, defeating Hawaii-Pacific 5-3 to finish the year undefeated. Barry claimed the women's Division II title, beating Armstrong Atlantic 5-4. Both those teams finished ranked No. 1. For more on the Division II final rankings, including the individuals who finished at No. 1 (there is no individual tournament in Division II), see the ITA release.