US Open star screams ‘hit me, hit me’ mid-point and escapes punishment

Taylor Townsend was not punished for yelling “hit me, hit me” during a US Open mixed doubles match On Sunday. Townsend was partnered with Ben Shelton against opponents Joe Salisbury and Luisa Stefani.

Townsend’s bizarre outburst was directed towards Salisbury, with fans of the sport believing the pair to be friends following the infraction. While punishment was not sanctioned for her actions, yelling during a tennis match is still a hindrance warning. 

The exchange happened during the second set, amid a back-and-forth battle between the two pairs. Stefani sliced the ball drawing Shelton into no man’s land. He returned her shot with a weak lob.

Stefani returned with a soft smash leading Townsend to quickly react. Her return, like Shelton’s before her, was weak and allowed for either Stefani or Salisbury to execute a winning smash. However, while the ball was in the air, the 27-year-old yelled “Hit me! Hit me!” to her opponents, with the London native Salisbury returning the lob with an explosive winner despite Shelton’s best-scrambling attempts. 

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As Townsend screamed to be hit by the ball, the umpire watching the match looked visibly annoyed, leaning back into his chair. He quickly glanced in the American’s direction but offered no punishments. 

During a tennis match, officials can penalise players for yelling and calling a hindrance against their opponent. Loud noises, such as grunting, can distract players on nearby courts.

Townsend and Shelton won the match, advancing to the Round of 16 against Rohan Bopanna of India and Aldila Sutjiadi from Indonesia. And there was no time to celebrate as the match took place immediately after on the Grandstand court – which they also won 6-2, 7-5.

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Townsend is ranked No. 132 in singles and No. 5 in doubles, according to the WTA Tennis rankings. However, she recently shared that while she enjoys dominating with a partner, her singles career should be remembered. 

The 27-year-old was eliminated from the women’s singles competition after falling to Czech player Karolína Muchova in the third round. Her road to a US Open championship is still alive through mixed doubles with Shelton and women’s doubles alongside her Canadian partner, Leylah Annie Fernandez.

“Every tournament I played, I played singles and doubles. I have always done this in my career because doubles has always helped me in my singles,” Townsend explained after her last women’s mixed doubles win. 

“But the opportunities and the consistent going to the second week, going deep into these events, going deep into the Slams, being the last one standing—whether it is singles or whether it’s doubles—it gives you that feeling.”

Townsend and Fernandez advanced to the quarterfinals of women’s doubles after defeating Karolina Pliskova and Donna Vekic in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinals, they will face the winners of the Sept. 4 matchup between Czech players Barbora Strycova and Marketa Vondrousova against New Zealand player Erin Routliffe and her Canadian teammate Gabriela Dabrowski.

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