Simona Halep suffers a shock defeat in the second round of the US Open to world number 118 Taylor Townsend
Wimbledon champion Simona Halep suffered a shock defeat to world number 118 Taylor Townsend in the second round of the US Open.
The Romanian, who was taken to three sets in the first round against Nicole Gibbs, lost 6-2 3-6 6-7 (4-7) in a compelling match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
All seemed to be going according to the script early on when Halep broke twice to comfortably take the first set, before two early breaks by Townsend in the second sent it to a decider.
Both players shared a break apiece, and in the crucial tie-break it was Townsend who put together three points in a row when it was all square at 4-4 to advance through to the third round.
The 23-year-old American will now face another Romanian in Sorana Cirstea for a place in the last 16.
Elsewhere, sixth seed Petra Kvitova was also dealt a surprise blow as she was beaten in straight sets by Germany's Andrea Petkovic.
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The world number 197 broke the two-time Wimbledon winner a total of three times to cause a major upset at Flushing Meadows.
But it was more routine work for top seed Naomi Osaka, who eased past Poland's Magda Linette 6-2 6-4.
The defending champion will now face 15-year-old prodigy Coco Gauff in the standout match of the third round.