By Heather Sadusky
CHICAGO (CBS) — Just getting to the French Open was a grueling experience for Chicago’s Taylor Townsend.
Now the 18-year-old from Englewood is making all that work pay off in a big way, exemplifying one of Chicago’s greatest attributes: resiliency.
After several obstacles, including comments about her physical stature, the teenager has made her debut in the Grand Slam, winning her first round match against fellow American Vania King.
Then on Wednesday she shocked the tennis world with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 upset against No. 20 player Alize Cornet of France, even despite the crowd cheering for her rival.
That now puts Townsend in the third round and has drawn plenty of attention from tennis legends.
Townsend earned a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association after winning two rounds of a qualifying tournament, and is now ranked 205th for singles.
Only one male and one female are chosen as wild cards each year.
By the way, Alize Cornet beat top-ranked Serena Williams earlier this year in Dubai.
Townsend is the youngest U.S. woman to make it to the third round since 2003.
Prior to her Grand Slam debut, she won two titles for women’s singles and two titles for women’s doubles from the ITF Women’s Circuit earlier in the year.
Her next challenge comes in the form of Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, ranked No. 14 and a quarter-finalist of last year’s French Open.
The match will be either Friday or Saturday, when all Round 3 games are played.
There’s no doubt Townsend’s positive attitude will help.
“The sky’s the limit. [I’m taking it] one ball at a time,” Townsend said.
“She has huge potential,” Cornet said. “I will keep a close eye on her.”