Taylor Townsend needed to do the nearly impossible on Aug. 26 when she faced the No. 1 woman tennis player in the world and fellow American Serena Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open. Why was it nearly impossible? Serena has now won 56 of 57 first-round matches in Grand Slam tournaments throughout her career after defeating Townsend 6-3, 6-1.
Not familiar with Townsend? Don’t worry, here are five things you need to know about the budding teenage tennis star.
5. Taylor Townsend was the first American to hold the year-end No. 1 junior ranking in the world since 1982. Townsend accomplished this feat at the end of 2012.
4. Townsend won the 2012 Junior Australian Open and lost in the 2013 Junior Wimbledon Finals.
3. Townsend has a 5-4 career record in Grand Slam events as a professional, including reaching the third round in both last year’s U.S. Open and the 2014 French Open.
2. She is left-handed, which could cause problems for opponents, as mentioned by Serena Saturday during a media session. “She’s a lefty. I always wanted to be lefty [smiles]. That just in general puts you on a whole new level as a player. She’s a very aggressive player. She comes to the net. She makes her shots. You don’t really see that in tennis so much. You see players that, you know, stay back and hug the baselines, as I do. But it’s good, refreshing, and I think it’s the future of tennis just by doing what she does.” Very strong praise from the No. 1 player in the world.
1. She is currently ranked 103 in the world, which is her highest ranking ever as a professional.
Though Townsend was unsuccessful in handing Williams her second first-round loss of her career, she was poised on the biggest stage in tennis, and, at 18 years old, has a lot of tennis in her future.