Anisimova, 17, into first Slam quarters, strikes blow for new generation
PARIS – Amanda Anisimova, just 17, on Monday became the first player born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final but now comes the hardest part - facing Simona Halep, the defending champion at Roland Garros.
American-born with Russian-born parents, the blonde teenager swept to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova.
Having already announced herself on the Grand Slam stage by making the last-16 at the Australian Open in January, she will comfortably make the top 40 after the end of the French Open.
She is one of three American women to reach the last-eight in Paris but unlike her more seasoned colleagues Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, she has yet to drop a set.
Anisimova appreciates the daunting task ahead of her on Wednesday when she takes on Halep, the third seed.
On Monday, the Romanian needed just 45 minutes to demolish Polish teenager Iga Swiatek in her last 16 tie.
“I was watching Simona before my match and then I was, like, Oh, my God, her backhand down the line is so good and she was taking her time, and then I think I was mimicking it in my match,” Anisimova admitted.
Anisimova is the youngest American woman to get to the last 16 in Paris since Serena Williams in 1998.
When she won her maiden WTA title in Bogota earlier this year, she was the youngest American to do so since Serena captured the Indian Wells trophy 20 years ago.
“I feel like it's been building up. I don't really feel like I'm young. I had Indian Wells last year. That was kind of more surprising to me,” said Anisimova of her run to the fourth round in the Californian desert in 2018.
It took current world number two Karolina Pliskova to stop her run then before a serious foot injury ended her hopes of taking part in the clay court season.
Halep will bring her heavy weapons to the quarter-final on Wednesday.
She has reeled off 16 breaks of serve in her last three matches at Roland Garros.
Unlike Anisimova, Halep was a late bloomer at the Slams, not reaching her first quarter-final until the 2014 Australian Open when she was 22.
Since that time, she has made another 11.
“When I was 17 I was not on Court Philippe Chatrier, I was in quallies here,” said the Romanian. “I didn't know how to win matches at 17. My career went slowly, so I it enjoyed more. I was patient, I worked hard.
“So I'm happy with the way it was and the way it is now. Because I have many years in the top, and I'm really pleased with the effort I have done these years.”
“I feel very old. To play against someone 10 years younger than me, that's not easy.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)