The Big Stage is No Big Deal for Amanda Anisimova

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The Big Stage is No Big Deal for Amanda Anisimova
Amanda Anisimova of the US reacts after a point against Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka during their women's singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2019. (Photo by Greg Wood / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

Amanda Anisimova Takes Out #11 Seed Aryna Sabalenka in Straight Sets

Walking onto Margaret Court Arena, oddsmakers gave the 17-year-old “Jersey Girl” a slender 9% chance of winning the match. Turns out they were 100% wrong. The aggressive baseliner, Amanda Anisimova, took out #11 seed Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets.

America’s rising star is moving on to the fourth round.

Anisimova’s win today was definite and commanding: 6-3 6-2. She simply blasted the ball and was not intimidated by the big venue nor, the big challenge. Effortless power combined with amazing angles left her opponent frustrated. Out of sorts, and understandably so, Sabalenka had no answer.

It seemed nearly every shot, Animisova was in position and ready to strike. Even when being run side-to-side, she found a way to hit a winner. Perhaps it was her own lack of variety; though a guess is Sabalenka never expected to see the depth and weight of shot off both Anisimova’s wings.

By the second set, it took incredible effort for Sabalenka to even win a point. Anisimova looked at home on this big stage. Sabalenka is only 20 years old, and surely she and Anisimova will meet up another 10 to 20 times during their career. It’ll be interesting to see what lessons Sabalenka learns from today’s loss.

The next teenage Slam Champion?

In her post-match interview, when asked how she felt, Anisimova said it was an “Unreal feeling, I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe I got through this round.”

Her answer belied the confidence she showed on court. You’d expect the nerves to kick in the closer Amanda Anisimova moved to the finish line. Would she realize how big a moment this was? It didn’t happen.

Anisimova showed the composure of someone who’d been there before. Citing Maria Sharapova as the player she looks up to, Anisimova hopes to follow in Maria’s footsteps.  Not since 2006 has a teenager (Sharapova) won a Major. It’s clear the young American is gunning to fill this role.

Amanda Anisimova – her Tennis road so far

Anisimova started this tournament pitted against Monica Niculescu. Not many thought Anisimova had the experience to get past the tricky slice for which the Romanian is known. But, find a way she did taking her opening match 7-6 6-4.

Her second round opponent was Leisa Tsurenko. The Ukranian veteran was a finalist at the Brisbane International just a few weeks and was predicted to be a tough opponent. In just 54 minutes, the American teenager pummeled Tsurenko, 6-0 6-2.

What’s next for Anisimova at the Australian Open

Anisimova will be waiting for the winner of the match between #8 seed Petra Kvitova and Swiss shotmaker Belinda Bencic. Oddsmakers visibly favor Kvitova – she’s one of the hotter players in the tournament. During her second-round match, Kvitova converted all five of her break points.

Regardless of the opponent, Anisimova appears to be ready for the challenge. Win or lose in the fourth round, we’re definitely looking at a future Slam champion in the form of Amanda Anisimova.

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