November 15th, 2017

Townsend Wins Women’s USTA Aussie Open Wild Card Challenge

General News Pro Tennis

Former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend won the USTA’s 2018 Australian Open Wild Card Challenge over the weekend, a wild card that the 21-year-old Chicago native might not even need come January in Melbourne.

Townsend won the singles title at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Waco, Texas, on Sunday, clinching first place in the challenge and elevating her ranking into the Top 100 where she will likely now receive direct entry into the Australian Open main draw.

“My coach and I set a goal after the US Open. He said, ‘We’re just going to chip away and try to get you into Australia by yourself,'” Townsend told the Waco Tribune-Herald after beating Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 in the final. “And I did that, so I’m really, really pleased.”

It will be the second career Australian Open main draw appearance for the 2012 Australian Open junior champion Townsend. In 2015 she stretched No. 8-seeded former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 7-6(1), 6-2 in a first-round loss in her debut. This year she lost in the third round of the qualifying draw in Melbourne to fellow American Jennifer Brady in three sets.

Townsend’s ranking boost will be an additional boost for Australian Open Wild Card Challenge second-place finisher Kristie Ahn, the 25-year old Stanford product. Dec. 4 will be the rankings cut-off date for main draw acceptances for the 2018 Australian Open.

The men’s wild card recipient will be decided this week. Tim Smyczek leads the race with 95 points, as he and much of the contending field take to the courts at the USTA Pro Circuit $75,000 Challenger in Champaign, Ill.

USTA Player Development awards an Australian Open main draw wild card to the one American man and one American woman who earns the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in the series of events during the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. Points accumulated include the best two results during the three-week time period. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible. The 2018 Australian Open main draw will be held Jan. 15-28.
All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on Follow the USTA Pro Circuit on Twitter via #USTAProCircuit.
Past USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge Women’s Winners:

2017 — Taylor Townsend
2016 — Kayla Day
2015 — Samantha Crawford
2014 — Irina Falconi

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