Taylor Townsend vs Bianca Andreescu - US Open Preview and Prediction
Women's tennis continues to throw up new stars every year. This time, it is the American sensation, Taylor Townsend, taking on the consistent Canadian, Bianca Andreescu, in the fourth round of the US Open as both of them chase their grand slam dreams.
Coming to Taylor Townsend, she has achieved stupendous success in the junior level, winning major tournaments in both singles and doubles. She was the World Number 1 in the ITF Junior rankings in 2012 and has reached greater heights after being coached by Donald Young Sr. Townsend has modeled her game after the legendary Martina Navratilova. Her attacking serve and volley game has worked well so far and she will look to continue the same against Andreescu.
Townsend's journey has been surreal in the US Open this year as she had to battle past several controversies that affected her in the past. In 2012, the USTA refused to provide a wildcard and did not fund her expenses for the US Open although she was the country's top-ranked junior player. The USTA cited her weight as the reason for that decision. Despite heavy criticism, the USTA refused to budge.
Townsend has had a fantastic year so far. She won the doubles title in the ITF USA 13A tournament, singles and doubles title- ITF USA 15A. Townsend was also a doubles finalist in the Auckland Open and Oracle Challenger Series- Indian Wells.
She had to go through the grind of three rounds of qualifying to get in the main draw due to her being ranked 116 in the world. Her first opponent in the main draw was the 76th ranked Kateryna Kozlova. The Ukrainian raced ahead after taking the first set 6-3. Townsend bounced back strongly to win the next two sets 6-3 6-2 to set up a clash with World Number 4, Simona Halep.
Halep had beaten her 6-1 6-3 in the Miami Open this year but Townsend got her revenge this time. It was usual business as Halep grabbed the first set 6-2. Townsend did not give in and took the second set 6-3 to force a decider. The third set was a classic as both players fought for every point and Townsend stunned the Centre Court as she took it 7-6(4) to clinch the thriller.
After the high of defeating Halep, there was no let down in intensity as she ousted Halep's compatriot- Sorana Cirstea 7-5 6-2 to storm into the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
On the other hand, Bianca Andreescu has also made the right moves this year. Her notable performances include triumphs in Oracle Challenger Series, Indian Wells Masters and Rogers Cup and a runner-up finish in the Auckland Open. Andreescu has defeated several Grand Slam champions such as Wozniacki, Venus, Muguruza, Kerber, and Serena this year.
Strong variety in her game has made her win tough matches as she has defeated good players like- Flipkens and Wozniacki in the previous rounds. Andreescu seems to have momentum on her side as she is yet to drop a set in this tournament.
Strengths of Taylor Townsend
A fearless serve-volley strategy with clever net-play regardless of who her opponent is has made her dangerous. The crowd has also rallied behind her as she has won two matches after losing the first set.
Weaknesses of Taylor Townsend
Fatigue may catch up with her as she has played eight matches in the tournament, six in singles and two in doubles. A sluggish start can work against her favour.
Strengths of Bianca Andreescu
She comes into her own in the crucial matches involving the stars and the in-form players. Andreescu has great court coverage and unsettles the opponent with her repertoire of shots. Her ability to dictate the long rallies is a major strength.
Weaknesses of Bianca Andreescu
Andreescu has made a staggering 84 unforced errors in three rounds and must figure out a quick fix if she wants to progress further.
Both Townsend and Andreescu are meeting for the first time in the tour. Townsend partnering Osuigwe got the better of Andreescu and Fichman in the first round of the women's doubles in this tournament and Andreescu will be looking to payback in the same coin against Townsend.
The fans will be excited to see the bright performances of the next-gen players as they battle it out on the court.
Taylor Townsend to win in three sets.