US Open: Wimbledon champion Halep crashes out, loses to terrific Townsend

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep suffered a second-round exit at the US Open as she fell victim to an incredible Taylor Townsend comeback.

Taylor Townsend following her shock victory over Simona Halep   -  Getty Images

Taylor Townsend pulled off the biggest shock of the US Open as she came from a set down to stun fourth seed Simona Halep in the second round.

Wimbledon champion Halep was expected to have few problems against the qualifier and world number 116, but was on the end of a remarkable comeback as Townsend prevailed 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.

Halep took the first set in dominant fashion, but Townsend found inspiration in the second set and brought the Arthur Ashe crowd to life in New York.

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The former girls number one demonstrated outstanding reflexes at the net and took the contest to Halep as she set up a decider.

Townsend has to this point been unable to deliver on the potential she displayed as a junior, but she continued on the attack and punished the Halep second serve, breaking to love in game five.

Having only once previously reached the third round of a grand slam, any nerves on Townsend's part would have been understandable.

They promptly showed up as she let two match points go begging when serving for the match as Halep found her best tennis in the closing moments.

However, Halep wasted a match point of her own, setting up a frenetic tie-break that was settled when the Romanian fired into the net to an eruption from the home crowd as an emotional Townsend raised her arms and celebrated the biggest win of her career.

- 'Monumental' win proof I belong here, says Halep conqueror Townsend -

Townsend believed her stunning second-round US Open victory over Halep was a "monumental moment" in proving to herself that she belongs on the biggest stage.

Townsend suffered a heart-breaking defeat to Kiki Bertens at Wimbledon, spurning match point with a poor drop shot, and was visibly emotional after claiming her third match point against fourth seed Halep to earn the biggest win of her career.

"Just to be able to get over the hump, it's such an amazing feeling because, like, I mean, after Wimbledon, I was devastated after I lost to Bertens after having a match point," Townsend told a media conference. "That, like, woke me up out of my sleep. Oh, drop shot.

"I put my head down and just worked really hard and just tried to take the positives away from it, just continue to press forward. I think for so long that's been kind of my whole thing, is just continue to press forward and just realise that I belong on this level. I've had a lot of people doubting me being able to break through, quote unquote.

"It's just confirmation more for myself that I'm on the right path, doing the right things. You keep your head down and keep working and you see what happens.

"I just feel like this was a huge, monumental moment. It was a very defining moment for me to realise that I belong here."

Afterwards Halep revealed Townsend had asked her for advice after the Romanian emphatically beat her in Miami.

"My heart was beating through my chest when I talked to her because I'm not that kind of person at all. That's just not anything that I would do," Townsend said of their conversation.

"She gave me some good advice. Honestly, she didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, but it was good to hear it from another player, someone I just played, played a couple of times. Especially someone who is at such a high level, has accomplished so much.

"I don't know why I did it, but I did it. It kind of stuck with me. I'm not saying that everything she said I implemented into my training, but it was definitely in the back of my head to remember what she said and also remember why I asked, what drove me to ask that question, kind of that hunger and desire to get better."

"I think I kind of turned that into more of a positive to say, Hey, you can continue to learn and grow."

- Halep short on inspiration -

Halep felt a difference in inspiration levels was key. She told a media conference: "She was very inspired of every ball. She came a lot to the net and didn't miss much. It's unbelievable.

"I was not inspired at all today, but I fought. I thought when I came back that I will take it and I will win it. But sometimes it goes the other way," she added.