PARIS (Reuters) - Teenage Danish qualifier Clara Tauson caused a shock as she saved two match points to beat American 21st seed Jennifer Brady 6-4 3-6 9-7 in the opening round of the French Open on Tuesday.
The powerful 17-year-old, making her main draw debut in Grand Slams with a ranking of 188, played fearless tennis to edge out the recent U.S. Open semi-finalist.
She was on the brink of defeat at 5-6 in the decider when she saved two match points, then squandered three of her own when serving at 7-6, the last one when her attempted drop shot hit the tape and fell agonisingly back on her side.
But the third-youngest player in the draw behind Coco Gauff and wildcard Elsa Jacquemot refused to buckle under the pressure and broke Brady again before clinching victory on her fifth match point with a well-placed serve.
Comparisons with former world number one and fellow Dane Caroline Wozniacki are understandable, although Copenhagen native Tauson plays a more aggressive style of game, as she demonstrated with 48 winners to Brady’s 39.
She will face another American next in the shape of Danielle Collins and is clearly revelling on the big stage.
“Of course I am surprised I am in the second round of the French Open, but I feel like I have the game to be here right now,” this year’s Australian Open junior champion said.
“Jen was in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, so I was just grateful to be there and just happy that I could play a girl like her on a big court.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis
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