Amanda Anisimova Returns to Hard Courts at Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

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)

American starlet Amanda Anisimova turns 18 years old during the US Open (August 31st). She has certainly come of age in tennis terms this season – a Slam breakthrough at the French Open, just to start. However, one fact may have been lost in the hype around Anisimova–so far, her hard-court form is not as good as last season. This needs to change and the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, California is the place to do it. The World #23 comes into San Jose as the #4 seed, and American expectation will surely be on her to do well.

Amanda Anisimova on Elina Svitolina Quarterfinal Collision Course in San Jose

With Anisimova looking to put a poor Wimbledon showing behind her, she will be grateful for a first round bye. She will face either the hardworking German Andrea Petkovic or the improving fellow American Madison Brengle in Round 2. Anisimova defeated Petkovic in straight sets on hard court in Miami earlier this season. She has never faced Madison Brengle. Arguable, she will be keen to hit the hard-courts running. Pressure is bound to build on her in the run up to the US Open.

A potential all-American quarterfinal encounter with the unpredictable but dangerous Danielle Rose Collins awaits Anisimova. Britain’s Heather Watson is improving her level after injury worries and could also be Anisimova’s 3rd round opponent. Then it is #1 seed Elina Svitolina who is a potential semifinal opponent for Anisimova. It would be a treat of a match for the Californian crowd to savor. Svitolina has had a mixed bag of a season, but looked good in her latest outing at Wimbledon, reaching the semis. Svitolina put Anisimova to the sword in their only meeting in Cincinnati last season. It’s against players of Svitolina’s calibre that Anisimova needs to benchmark her progress.

WTA Title Duck Broken in 2019, Focus now on Slam Duck for Anisimova

With a WTA title (Bogota) and a Slam semifinal appearance under her belt this season, expectation is growing on the New Jersey-born talent. However, we are about to see how good Anisimova can be under the pressure and expectation of a Flushing Meadows crowd. San Jose is the start of the journey to Flushing Meadows for the American – all eyes will be on her this week.

A Mixed Bag of a Slam Record so Far for Anisimova

Despite the fact that this prodigiously talented athlete is only 17 years old, expectation has followed her around this year. At the Australian Open she scored some blistering victories over in-form players like Aryna Sabalenka (also in the San Jose field as the #2 seed). However, her 4th-round defeat to finalist Petra Kvitova was met with disappointment in many quarters. More was expected. Anisimova showed why this was the case at the French Open, where she blasted into the semifinals. This achievement contributes to a 12-5 record on clay for the season. Anisimova was pretty much an unknown quantity on clay prior to this season, having avoided the surface last season.

Anisimova Needs to Build upon 2018 Hard-court Form

It was on hard-court last season that people really started to notice the talent of Anisimova. A 24-9 record included the scalp of Petra Kvitova (Indian Wells) and a run to the final in Horishima. This season, so far, she has not hit the same rhythm, as a 7-6 record for 2019 on hard-courts bears out. A beatdown of the in-form Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open made for a promising season and Slam start. This was followed by some consistent performances in Melbourne. It demonstrates Anisimova’s hard-court Slam potential. A modicum of improvement on this performance puts her right in there at Flushing Meadows.

The hard-court report card for Amanda Anisimova this season would read “could do better.” Therefore, she will look to her performance in San Jose to do just that. This tournament is a good shot at a 2nd career title for the 17-year-old talent.

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