Taylor Townsend downs compatriot Jessica Pegula on day of huge Rome upsets

Taylor Townsend

American Taylor Townsend continued her comeback with a huge upset win over Jessica Pegula on a day full of upsets in Rome.

Townsend reached the third round of a WTA 1000 event for just the second time in her career.

She secured her place in the Round of 32 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win that underlined that she can still be a threat on the WTA Tour.

“It was 100% mental for me. I knew I didn’t have anything to lose. … I just felt super prepared,” Townsend said afterwards on the Tennis Channel broadcast.

“I tried to stay as free as possible and have a lot of fun out there, and I did.

“As the match went on, I started to believe more and more and more, and I just really carried that momentum throughout the match.”

Later Sofia Kenin scored a massive triumph over world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(4), 6-2.

This was Kenin’s biggest win since a massive slump in the wake of her Grand Slam breakthrough.

The result was Kenin’s first victory over a top-two player since defeating world No 1 Ashleigh Barty en route to her 2020 Australian Open title. It was also the American’s first victory over any Top 10 player since that triumph. Kenin was 0-3 versus Top 10 players since defeating Barty.

Kenin derailed Sabalenka’s incredible season, earning her her first loss before the quarterfinals of any event this year. Sabalenka, who won in Madrid last week, came into Rome with a WTA tour-leading 29 match wins this year and is ranked first in the Race to the WTA Finals.

World No 5 Coco Gauff wasn’t in the mood to be upset as she blew past Yulia Putintseva 6-0, 6-1.

Gauff was braced for a challenge but was suprised to make quick work of her opponent.

“I usually have long matches with her,” Gauff said after the match.

“I was fully prepared for that. But I told myself to play on my terms, not her terms.

“She’s obviously a tricky player, has some big wins. Made the quarters of the French a couple times. I know clay is her surface. It’s also kind of mine, too, so it was a good match today.”

Italian Open results

Coco Gauff (USA x6) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-0, 6-1

Marie Bouzkova (CZE x27) bt Caty McNally (USA) 6-4, 6-3

Anastasia Potapova (x23) bt Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-4, 6-4

Veronika Kudermetova (x11) bt Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 7-5, 6-2

Anna Bondar (HUN) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x13) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Zheng Qinwen (CHN x22) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)

Wang Xiyu (CHN) bt Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM x31) 6-4, 7-5

Taylor Townsend (USA) bt Jessica Pegula (USA x3) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

Camila Osorio (COL) bt Petra Martic (CRO x29) 6-4, 6-2

Magda Linette (POL x17) bt Linda Noskova (CZE) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1

Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA x12) bt Gabriela Ruse (ROM) 6-2, 6-3

Victoria Azarenka (x14) bt Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-4, 6-3

Madison Keys (USA x19) bt Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-3, 6-2

Anhelina Kalinina (UKR x30) bt Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-2

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