CHICAGO — Englewood's Taylor Townsend took out France's top gun to continue her shocking run in the French Open.
Townsend, 18, upset Alize Cornet, the world's 21st-ranked player and France's top seed at Roland Garros, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Wednesday.
"It couldn't have been a better script for her to really play in a hostile environment," Townsend's coach, Kamau Murray of XS Tennis, told DNAinfo.com Chicago via cellphone from Paris. "Anything is possible, and I can't give you no more proof than that victory."
Justin Breen discusses the shocking upset:
Townsend will face Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, ranked 15th in the world, in the third round.
Townsend, ranked 205th in the world, is a graduate of Lenart Regional Gifted Center in Chatham and a product of XS Tennis in Kenwood. She's the youngest U.S. player to advance to the French Open's third round since 2003.
"We speculated that she could potentially be in the third round, and it wasn't out of her reach," said Aaron Mabra, the director of junior development at XS. "That's why she was able to do it because she truly believed she could win this match."
Townsend broke Cornet, the tournament's 20th seed, twice on her way to a first-set victory. She led 4-1 in the second set before Cornet rebounded to win the last five games. But Townsend persevered and held on after building a 5-1 advantage in the third set.
"We've been working on her maturity and how to handle tough moments," said Murray, a South Side native. "It feels good to see everything we've been telling her and working on, trying to tell her what's possible, and it's good for her to see it for herself.
"To see her make it through that nervousness and jitters was amazing," he added.
It's Townsend's first appearance in the main draw of grand slam event. Townsend is a former No. 1 in the junior rankings, and she won the Australian Open girls singles title in 2012 when she was 15.
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