Anisimova, 15, claims
USTA French Open wild card
Sally Milano | May 5, 2017
2016 French Open girls' finalist Amanda Anisimova is heading back to Paris, this time to compete in the women's main draw.
Anisimova, a 15-year-old from Hallandale Beach, Fla., will make her French Open main-draw debut later this month after winning the 2017 Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. When she sets foot on the red clay at Roland Garros, she will become the youngest player to compete in the main draw there since Alize Cornet in 2005. She will also be the first player born in 2001 to compete in a Grand Slam main draw.
Anisimova claimed the challenge title with 118 points, which she earned by reaching back-to-back singles finals at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Ala. Indian Harbour Beach and Dothan were the first career main-draw USTA Pro Circuit events in which she competed. ADVERTISEMENT
Victoria Duval and Caroline Dolehide – the only players who could have surpassed Anisimova in the standings – both lost at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charleston, S.C., this week.
Currently ranked No. 264 in the world, Anisimova competed in US Open qualifying last year in her only previous Grand Slam appearance. She also competed in her first WTA main draw at the Miami Open in March, losing to fellow American Taylor Townsend in three sets in the opening round. Anisimova is also the No. 5-ranked girl in the world. She peaked at No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in June 2016 after reaching the French Open girls' final.
USTA Player Development awards a French Open main-draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of clay-court held in the spring. The women’s wild card challenge consisted of results earned at USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over the past four weeks.
The men’s wild-card challenge will also conclude this week. Tennys Sandgren, continuing a successful comeback from hip surgery, is currently in the lead after reaching the final of the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Sarasota, Fla., two weeks ago and also qualifying for the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston the week prior. Sandgren is currently in the quarterfinals of the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Savannah, Ga.
The USTA first used the wild-card challenge format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at that year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. In 2013, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open. In 2014, young American Townsend and veteran Robby Ginepri received the wild cards, with Townsend reaching the third round. In 2015, young Americans Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico secured the wild cards. And last year, Townsend and Bjorn Fratangelo earned the wild cards, with both players winning their first-round matches.
The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 French Open and US Open are exchanged.
The 2017 French Open will take place from Monday, May 22, through Sunday, June 11, in Paris.