Anisimova makes major history
at Roland Garros
Arthur Kapetanakis | June 4, 2019
Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova's maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal will double as the first last-eight appearance at a major for any player born in the 2000s. The 2017 US Open girls' singles champion was born on Aug. 31, 2001, during a historic US Open that is remembered for a different sort of first—Venus Williams topping sister Serena in the first-ever primetime women's final in New York.
Now, with the help of some inspirational words from Serena earlier in the year, the young American is the one stepping into the spotlight. On Wednesday at Roland Garros, she will walk onto Court Philippe-Chatrier for the first time to take on defending champion and No. 3 seed Simona Halep.
For the teen, who first made waves at the senior level with a Round-of-16 run at Indian Wells in 2018 (then 16), her latest milestone is just the next step in what has already been a very strong start to her career.ADVERTISEMENT
"I feel like it's been building up," she said of her success, referencing that surprise California run. "I don't really feel like I'm young and it's the first time."
Anisimova is the youngest American to reach a Slam quarterfinal since Jennifer Capriati in 1993, and the youngest from any country since 2006, according to the Associated Press. Not that she is concerned with such stats.
"I have no idea about who did what at what age," she said. "People tell me, and then I just forget after a second. I don't really care about it too much.
"I'm in the present, and I want to do well and hope for good results, but I don't really think about how old I am."
Anisimova defeated 21-year-old Spaniard Aliona Bolsova, 6-3, 6-0, on Monday to reach the French Open quarterfinals, improving on her breakout Round-of-16 run at the Australian Open in January. Entering 2019, she was winless in two Grand Slam main-draw appearances, at the French in 2017 and the US Open in 2018.
In both Melbourne and Paris this year, Anisimova turned back Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who was named the women's US Open Series Breakout Performer in 2018 and has since gone on to break into the WTA's Top 10 in February. The American dropped just 11 combined games in those two straight-set victories, and is primed to match the 21-year-old's rapid rise to the game's elite.
Currently ranked a career-high No. 51, the Freehold, N.J., native and Florida resident will ascend into the Top 35 in the post-Paris rankings. If she can get past Halep on Wednesday, she could be in line for a place in the Top 25, and a likely seed at Wimbledon next month.
Though the quarterfinal opponents have never met on the court, Anisimova drew some inspiration from watching Halep's fourth-round match against Polish teen Iga Swiatek.
"I was watching Simona before my match, and then I was like, 'Oh my God, her backhand down the line is so good,'" she explained. "She was taking her time, and then I think I was mimicking it in my match.
"I hope that we're both going to be making a lot of backhand down-the-line winners," Anisimova continued, previewing Wednesday's showdown. "We'll see."