US Open 2023: Unranked American Taylor Townsend upsets No. 18 Beatriz Haddad Maia

Taylor Townsend is on to the second round at the 2023 US Open. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Taylor Townsend is on to the second round at the 2023 US Open. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

One of the biggest upsets of the 2023 US Open so far came from the racket of Taylor Townsend.

The 27-year-old American beat 18th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil on Wednesday in two sets, 7(7)-6, 7-5, to advance to the third round. Haddad Maia is the No. 19 player in the world, according to the Women's Tennis Association, while Townsend is ranked 132nd.

No. 7 Caroline Garcia, No. 8 Maria Sakkari, No. 12 Barbora Krejčíková and No. 16 Veronika Kudermetova also fell in the opening two rounds.

Townsend proved to be a worthy challenger from the start and pushed Haddad Maia to a tiebreak in the first set, in which the American steamrollered the Brazilian to take the set with a 7-1 tiebreak win. Townsend hit 20 winners in the set, compared to Haddad Maia's nine.

Both women traded games in the second set before Haddad Maia broke at 5-4. Townsend rallied, though, and took a 6-5 lead as they headed into a crucial 12th game.

Three consecutive points from Townsend sent Haddad Maia to the edge of elimination before Haddad Maia rallied to 40-30. But a forehand error by the Brazilian clinched the set and the match for Townsend, sending her through to the third round.

This is Townsend's third trip past the second round of a Grand Slam in her career and the second time for her at the US Open. She advanced to the fourth round of the 2019 US Open and the third round of the 2014 French Open.

Townsend's doubles career has been a little more prolific. She was the runner-up at the 2022 US Open alongside fellow American Caty McNally, and she finished second at the 2023 French Open with Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

Coco Gauff also moves on

Townsend will be joined in the third round by fellow countrywoman Coco Gauff, who breezed past Mirra Andreeva, 6-4, 6-2. The sixth-seeded Gauff will face 32nd-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium next.

Gauff, 19, went to the 2022 US Open quarterfinals before she lost to Caroline Garcia. She also made the quarterfinals of the 2023 French Open, where she lost to eventual champion and No. 1 seed Iga Świątek.