Playing in her first Grand Slam main draw match at Roland-Garros on Tuesday, the 17-year-old qualifier battled with injury and saved two match points before beating US Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady, 6-4, 3-6, 9-7.
“It’s kind of an insane feeling, I didn’t expect it going into the match,” Tauson told reporters after winning one of the best women’s matches so far in two hours, 45 minutes on Court Simonne-Mathieu.
“She was in the semi-finals of the US Open, so I was just grateful to be there and just happy that I could play a girl like her on a big court. It was a dream come true, of course, and then winning the match, I don’t have any words yet. It was so great, I’ve never really experienced a match like that,” said Tauson, who was down a break in the final set.
Tauson’s match was watched by four-time Roland-Garros winner Justine Henin. Tauson currently trains at the Belgian academy owned by the former world No. 1.
Tauson had been the first Danish woman besides Wozniacki to play in a Grand Slam main draw since Eva Dryberg at the 2003 Australian Open. Her win against Brady means she is now the first Danish woman not named Wozniacki into the second round of a major in 31 years.
“Denmark is such a small tennis country, and of course she was my biggest role model growing up. She made it out, and that made me think I could make it out also on the tour. We get compared a lot, but I am my own person, and she is her own person. I am just trying to focus on myself,” said Tauson, who added that she occasionally practised with Wozniacki last year.
Despite facing one of the most in-form players this season, Tauson played freely and was never intimidated by the occasion. Her left thigh strapped after a medical timeout at the start of the second set, the teenager kept a cool head when she faced two match points against the No. 21 seed.
Tauson didn’t succumb either when she squandered four match points of her own. Instead, she remained patient, saving a break point in the final game, before a big serve on the fifth match point sealed the match.