USTA Press Release, May 1, 2018
22-year-old Taylor Townsend of Atlanta, will make her fifth consecutive main draw appearance at the French Open after clinching a spot in the main draw by winning the 2018 Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge this weekend. Townsend holds 157 points in the challenge and no other players are able to pass her this week at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charleston, S.C.
Townsend, who won this Challenge in 2014 and 2016, earned the 157 points by winning her seventh USTA Pro Circuit singles title at the $80,000 event in Dothan, Ala., two weeks ago and then by reaching the semifinals at the $80,000 event in Charlottesville, Va., this weekend. Townsend reached the third round of the French Open in 2014—her career-best Grand Slam result—with a win over No. 20 seed Alize Cornet and also won matches at Roland Garros in 2016-17.
Townsend, who is currently ranked a career-high No. 85 in the world, just missed direct entry for the French Open two weeks ago. Townsend turned pro at the start of 2013 and, in her first WTA-level main-draw match, beat then-No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in the first round in Indian Wells. She followed that up with her impressive run to the third round of the 2014 French Open. She has since competed in all four Grand Slam events and in addition to her seven USTA Pro Circuit singles titles, holds 16 USTA Pro Circuit/ITF Pro Circuit doubles titles. Townsend is also a former junior standout, clinching the year-end ITF No. 1 junior ranking in 2012 to become the first American girl to hold that position since Gretchen Rush in 1982. She ascended to No. 1 by winning the Australian Open junior singles and doubles titles, as well as the junior doubles titles at the US Open and Wimbledon.
The men’s French Open wild card is still up for grabs with the challenge concluding this week at the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Savannah, Ga. Noah Rubin took the lead this week with 86 points after capturing the $75,000 Challenger in Tallahassee, Fla.—his fourth career ATP Challenger singles title and second title of the year. Bjorn Fratangelo is in second place with 50 points, while Denis Kudla is in third place with 39 points.
USTA Player Development awards a French Open main-draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA Tour ranking points in a series of clay-court events this spring. The challenge began the week of April 9 and concludes this week.
For the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will consider all American results worldwide for the wild card. Both USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and international ATP Tour and Challenger tournaments on any professional outdoor clay surface (Har-Tru or red) at prize money of $50,000 and above will be included (qualifying and main draw points). The women’s wild card challenge still consists of results earned at four USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over four weeks in the United States (main draw points only).
The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2018 French Open and US Open are exchanged. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on Monday, May 7, will be awarded the wild card.
The standings, as of April 30, can be found here. All players in red are currently ranked in the Top 100 and likely to receive direct entry into the 2018 French Open.