Townsend earns her first-ever win over a top ten player.
American qualifier Taylor Townsend defeated No. 4 Simona Halep in three sets 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) on Thursday, ending the two-time Grand Slam champion's chances at a U.S. Open title.
Halep, the 2019 Wimbledon champion, won the first set 6-2, moving Townsend all over the court and committing just four unforced errors to Townsend's 16.
Townsend exacted her revenge in the second set, grabbing the break before holding onto her serve to take a 3-1 lead. The 23-year-old's serve and volley continued to throw Halep off, helping her clinch the 6-3 win.
Halep tried to regain her momentum with three break points in the third set, but Townsend saved all three and held for a 4-2 lead. Halep turned the set on its head by jumping to a 6-5 lead after Townsend missed two match points. The American rallied to tie it at six apiece before sealing the victory with a dramatic 7-4 tiebreak win.
"It gives me so much confidence to know I can do it," Townsend said live on ESPN. "When I played her before I think I played not to lose, but today I played to win. I said, 'F it.'"
The victory was Townsend's first-ever over a top ten player and the first time an American has knocked off the reigning Wimbledon champion at the U.S. Open since Serena Williams did it in 2008.
Townsend will play Sorana Cirstea in the third round on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.