"If I got a wild card into Wimbledon, I would pass out." Those were the words of Taylor Townsend, the teenage American who has lit up the women's draw at the French Open with her dazzling game and equally sparkling personality.
That the 18-year-old was beaten 6-2, 6-2 yesterday by Carla Suarez Navarro, the No.14 seed from Spain, took nothing away from what the left-hander has achieved over the past week. Having won a play-off in the United States to earn her wild card, Townsend beat Vania King and France's No.1, Alize Cornet to reach the third round.
In doing so, Townsend will rise to around No.150 in the world rankings, a rise that is bound to capture the attention of the All England Club, which has eight wild cards at its disposal in the women's singles.
Given that only three are likely to be awarded to British players, that leaves five up for grabs - if they hand them all out - and Townsend, having gone through an awful lot off the court in the past two years, would be a deserving recipient.
"If I got a wild card into Wimbledon, I would pass out right now," she said. "Honestly, that would make my day. Wow. Wimbledon is my favourite tournament, I swear, I love the grass. I just love the tournament, the atmosphere. I have done well in the juniors there. I just love the atmosphere. Oh, my God, I'll probably cry. I'm not a crier, either. So that means a lot."
As a black American, Townsend has dealt with comparisons to the Williams sisters throughout her junior career, in which she won the Australian Open and was ranked world No.1.
Two years ago, she was denied funding by the United States Tennis Association until she lost weight, something the USTA later claimed was a miscommunication.
The teenager has coped admirably with a lot of criticism and showed her fitness is not a problem in lasting two and a half hours to beat Cornet in the second round. More importantly, with her lefty serve, viciously hit forehand and outstanding timing, Townsend has all the assets to reach the top.
After all the doubts, and with Zina Garrison now on board as her coach, she believes she belongs. "I believe 100 per cent in myself that I can do great things," she said. "But it's a matter of time. I have to trust the process, trust the work that I'm doing and understand that it is a long process, and, you know, it doesn't happen overnight."
Following the surprise defeat of world No.1 Serena Williams, 2012 champion Maria Sharapova showed why she is the favourite as she crushed Paolo Ormaechea, of Argentina, 6-0, 6-0. Agnieszka Radwanska, the third-seeded Pole, joined Williams and Li Na in having departed the event, when she was beaten by Ajla Tomljanovic, of Croatia, 6-4, 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza avoided a let-down after her win over Williams by beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, the teenage Slovak who had ousted Venus Williams, 6-2, 6-4.
Sam Stosur, a former runner-up, moved into the last 16 with a confident 6-4, 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova, the Slovak who reached the final of the Australian Open.