Amanda Anisimova of the US lets out a yell of triumph during her singles match against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open in Melbourne.
AFP
Amanda Anisimova makes heads turn at Australian Open
(Associated Press) - January 19, 2019 - 12:00am

87th SEED DROPS NO. 11 SABALENKA

MELBOURNE, Australia – All of 17, never the winner of a Grand Slam match until this week, Amanda Anisimova is making quite a first impression at the Australian Open.

Anisimova showed precisely why there are those who consider her a possible future star, producing one spectacular shot after another Friday to upset 11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2 and reach the fourth round.

She is the youngest American to get this far at Melbourne Park since Jennifer Capriati in 1993 – and at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at the 1998 French Open. Pretty heady company, huh? 

“This is an unreal feeling,” Anisimova said in an on-court interview. “I can’t believe that this is happening right now.”

Believe it, kid.

It’s not just that Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey and is based in Florida, has knocked off two seeds already, including the hard-hitting Sabalenka, who was many a pundit’s pick for a deep run at Melbourne Park.

Or that she’s dropped a measly total of 17 games through three matches.

It’s the way the 87th-ranked Anisimova – there is no one younger in the WTA’s top 100 – is doing it, with clean and dangerous shotmaking and impeccable court coverage.

Take the shot – shot of the match? of the tournament? of the year so far? – that she produced at 3-0, 15-all in the second set.

It was a 12-stroke exchange in which Sabalenka held the upper hand throughout, steering Anisimova from corner to corner. It culminated with one sprint by Anisimova to her right for a forehand, then a sprint to her left for a backhand, followed by yet another switch of direction for a sprint back to her right. Her momentum carried her well wide of the doubles alley as she conjured up a “How did she do that?!”

AMANDA ANISIMOVA AUSTRALIAN OPEN
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