first WTA final in Hiroshima
Sally Milano | September 15, 2018
Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova reached the first WTA final of her career Saturday, upsetting top-seeded Zhang Shuai, 7-6 (4), 7-5, in the semifinals of the Hana-Cupid Japan Women's Open in Hiroshima, Japan.
With the victory, Anisimova becomes the youngest player to reach a final since a 16-year-old Donna Vekic fell to Daniela Hantuchova in the Birmingham championship in 2013.
"She's definitely a tough player, one of the toughest I've played," Anisimova told WTATennis.com following her nearly two-hour semifinal win. "Overall, the match was really good. It was super-close, and I was fighting for every point."
Anisimova, who celebrated her 17th birthday just two weeks ago, qualified into the Japanese tournament and has been impressive en route to the final. She dropped just eight games total in her first three matches, including a 6-1, 6-1 win over No.
7 seed Zheng Saisai in the second round.
Her performance is all the more impressive, as the American teen missed four months of the season, from March through July, recovering from a foot fracture she sustained during her first-round match at Miami. Since her return in San Jose six weeks ago, she has compiled a 12-4 record (in both main-draw and qualifying play), improving her overall record to date this season to 24-8.
Anisimova will take on No. 2 seed Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in Sunday's final. The players have met one time previously, in the first round of Honolulu in 2017, with Anisimova winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.
Regardless of the outcome, the 17-year-old will crack the Top 100 for the first time in her career on Monday, when the new WTA rankings are released. Anisimova is currently ranked No. 134 in the world.