In one of the most bizarre matchups in women’s tennis history, 18-year-old Taylor Townsend had to play a 69-year-old grandmother in the second round of qualifying at a $25K ITF event in Pelham, Alabama earlier today.
Townsend, ranked No. 389, not surprisingly won the match 6-0, 6-0 in just 36 minutes losing 12 points over the granny named Gail Falkenberg.
But the story is, this was the SECOND ROUND. So how did a 69-year-old woman even get into the qualifying tournament and then how the hell did she BEAT someone?
In her first match, Falkenberg, a former collegiate coach and top regional player, defeated 22-year-old Rosalyn Small 6-0, 6-1! That’s right, she lost just ONE game to someone 47 years her younger. And did so serving underhand:
But again, this is qualifying and unranked players like Falkenberg and Small were accepted to fill out the draw and avoid more byes. And then they drew each other.
And how bad is Small? In 27 career ITF tournaments, she’s never won a match and won a total of 10 games. Yes, 10 games in 27 matches (that’s a lot of bagel!). And those matches were not even main draw. They were all in qualifying!
As for Falkenberg, who toiled in these WTA minor events in the late 90s, her win over Small ended a 32-match losing streak in recent years. That’s right, grandma has tried to qualify at a number of ITF events across the South the last four years or so.
However, Falkenberg did manage to get 12(!!!) points off Townsend, a player who has wins over Alize Cornet, Julia Goerges and has pushed former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to tiebreakers. Not bad.
And remember Alexandra Stevenson? Would you believe the former Wimbledon semifinalist is also playing in the Pelham qualifying? Of course.
What a crazy sport tennis is.
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