Teen sensation Anisimova stuns Halep
Paris: Teenage sensation Amanda Anisimova blew defending champion Simona Halep out of the French Open 6-2, 6-4 in a shock quarterfinal result at the Roland Garros here Thursday.
Third seed Halep, who had been looking to become the first woman to retain her title at Roland Garros since Belgian Justine Henin won three times in a row from 2005-07, never found a solution to counter the 17-year-old American’s beguiling mix of speed and accuracy.
The unseeded Anisimova, the first player born in the 2000s to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam, can become the first teenager to lift the trophy here since Iva Majoli of Croatia prevailed in 1997.
Anisimova will next face Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty, who beat American Madison Keys 6-3, 7-5 in the day’s other rescheduled quarterfinal after Wednesday’s complete washout.
“This is honestly more than I could ever have asked for,” Anisimova, who won her first career title at tour-level on the Bogota clay in April, said on court at the finish. “That was one of the best matches I have ever played. Going out there today, I knew that if I wanted it I had to give something different. My efforts paid off.”
Anisimova got off to a canon start, playing fearlessly to open a 4-2 lead with the first break, and then steal Halep’s serve again to bag the opening set in under half-an-hour.
With balls leaving her racket at bullet speed, Anisimova kept the pressure on Halep, sometimes drawing her opponent to the net before finishing off the point with passing shots. She played basic tennis, but it was brutally efficient.
Anisimova was 3-1 up and Halep had breakpoints, only for the American to see them off, finding unpredictable angles that left the Romanian often unbalanced.
But Halep broke back in the seventh game when Anisimova overplayed a backhand down the line. The teenager showed signs of nerves at 4-4 but Halep failed to convert a breakpoint and her failed efforts to get back into the contest proved costly as Anisimova wrapped it up with her 25th winner.