Amanda Anisimova: The Latest American Teenage Prodigy To Shine At The French Open - UBITENNIS
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Amanda Anisimova: The Latest American Teenage Prodigy To Shine At The French Open

The youngest player in the WTA top 100 is currently on track to rise to the top of the game.

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Amanda Anisimova - Roland Garros 2019 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

During the 2017 French Open a 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova made her grand slam debut. She managed to book a place in the draw after claiming the USTA’s wildcard thanks to an impressive display on the ITF tour. Unfortunately for her, she crashed out in the first round in three sets to Kurumi Nara.

Two years on from that defeat, Anisimova has now reached her maiden quarter-final of a major. On Monday she strolled to a 6-3, 6-0, win over Spain’s Aliona Bolsova. Continuing her run of not dropping a set in the tournament so far. On route to the milestone, she also knocked out 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka.

“I feel like it’s been building up. I don’t really feel like I’m young and first time.” Anisimova commented about being the youngest French Open quarter-finalist since 2006.
“I have been playing a lot of matches. Last year I took a little bit of time off, but it didn’t really affect me. I’m kind of getting used to it already.”

Born to Russian parents, Anisimova’s family moved to America in 1998. Looking to find better opportunities for their eldest daughter Maria, who went on to play collegiate tennis in Pennsylvania. They settled in Florida and it would be Amanda who turned out to be the sporting star of the family.

A successful junior career saw Anisimova rise to as high as No.2 in the world. In 2017 she won the US Open girls’ title without dropping a set. A year prior, she also reached the final of the junior competition in Roland Garros. However, she was denied the title by Switzerland’s Rebeka Masarova.

On the professional tour, Anisimova’s breakout occurred last year in Indian Wells. Despite her young age, she shocked Petra Kvitova on route to the fourth round. Becoming the youngest player to defeat a top 10 opponent since 2005. Prior to that tournament, she had only contested two main-draw matches at tour-level. Following on from Indian Wells, Anisimova has rocketed up the rankings to a current ranking best of 51st. In April she won her first WTA title at the Copa Colsanitas Open in Colombia.

“I like to step into the court. I feel like on clay I have been kind of getting used to it more because it’s different than hard, and I’m really aggressive on hard.” Anisimova explains about her style of play.
“I have been kind of mixing it up with playing higher and playing lower, so mixing up my shots. I feel like I have to work a lot on my serve. So that’s really important on the clay surface, too.”

Anisimova grew up being taught by her father, but is now under the guidance of Jaime Cortes. A former professional player from Colombia, who also has an academy in his home country. Another member of her team is fitness trainer Yutaka Nakamura, who travelled on the tour with Maria Sharapova between 2011-2018.

“No player is ever a finished product.” She states. “I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of building to do.”

The next test of the America player’s talent will occur on Tuesday at the French Open. Already the first player born in the 2000s to reach the last eight of a major, Anisimova faces defending champion Simona Halep. A challenge she is relishing.

“I can’t describe how excited I am.” She said. “It’s amazing playing her. She won it (the French Open) the previous year. So honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better matchup. I’m just extremely happy and excited for the next round.”

On paper, it should be a straightforward win for third seed Halep based on both ranking and experience. However, don’t rule out a fearless Anisimova. Anything is possible in the world of tennis.

 

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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