Tennis

Miami Open qualifier and former world junior champ upsets 30th-ranked Vinci

In about three weeks, Taylor Townsend will be old enough to order a glass of champagne.

Until then, others can toast to her early success in the Miami Open.

Townsend, 20, the former world junior champion and 2012 Australian Open junior winner who previously lived in Boca Raton, has spent years along an up-and-down path in her tennis career after turning pro at 16.

On Friday, the 111th-ranked Townsend called her 6-3, 6-2 upset victory over 2015 U.S. Open Finalist and 30th-ranked Roberta Vinci of Italy the “best’’ win of her career in her first trip to the tournament.

“I definitely played well,” said Townsend, a crafty lefty with great touch. “I’m pretty fortunate to come out with a victory. I’ve had some really tough matches over the course of these last couple days.”

Townsend, who now lives in Atlanta, will meet seventh-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia — a 6-2, 6-2 winner Friday over Mandy Minella of Luxembourg — in her next match at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.

On Tuesday, Townsend opened the main draw by defeating 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova, a wild-card entrant from Aventura, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

And before that: two hard-fought victories in qualifying.

“All the matches I’ve had, all the little things that maybe didn’t really work or worked at certain points, they came together,’’ Townsend said. “… I like the courts. I like the atmosphere. I played the 16s Orange Bowl when they moved it over here once.’’

Before that, she said, the last time she was on these courts “I was like 7 years old’’ in an 8-under camp. “I don’t mind playing when it’s humid. I like to sweat and stuff.’’

There were heavy expectations put on Townsend after she reached the top of the junior world. It has been a bumpy journey at times, but she said the entire ride has been a beneficial experience.

“I went from 300-something to 94 in a couple of months over a course of a year,’’ Townsend said, “and had some of my best results around a Grand Slam and a lot of new experiences. And then,’’ she said, snapping her fingers, “like this I went back to 300. It hasn’t really been a steady journey this year. It has been a slower incline playing tournament after tournament after tournament.

“Everyone has their own path, but for me it has been better to experience different levels … and see my progressions over the course of each level — Challenger level, [qualifiers] of Futures to [qualifiers] of Premiers, [qualifiers] of Grand Slams and so forth. I’m proud of myself.’’

So, with her 21st birthday looming, does she feel old?

“I don’t feel old,’’ Townsend said. “Unfortunately, in this sport they make it seem like if you’re playing three years on tour, four years on tour, and you don’t reach a certain pinnacle, that, ‘Oh, you’re doing bad. You’re washed up.’ I’ve heard that so many times. I don’t even think about that stuff.

“… I just take every year as a year of experience. I can’t say I’m old. I’m 20 years old. That’s insane.’’

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