Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka had a short-lived stay in Melbourne this year, thanks to a rising American star.
Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old from New Jersey, stunned the four-time grand slam winner Friday and saved two match points en route to a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) fourth-round victory.
“I knew I had to play sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” said Anisimova, who goes on to play the world’s top-ranked player, Australian Ash Barty.
Here’s everything you need to know about the young American who took one of the game’s behemoths out of the first grand slam of the year and will be looking for another big surprise the next time she hits court.
Who is Amanda Anisimova?
Anisimova was born in Freehold, NJ, to parents who had recently immigrated from Russia, but the family moved to the Miami area when she was 3 so Amanda and her older sister Maria could focus on tennis.
She rose through the junior ranks and reached number 2 in the world in 2016 as a 14-year-old. Anisimova reached the second round of US Open qualifiers that year and made her WTA debut at the Miami Open in spring 2017.
She defeated Coco Gauff in the final to win the US Open girls’ singles title that fall and reached the top 100 of the WTA rankings in 2018, reaching the final of the Japan Women’s Open in Hiroshima, about two weeks after she turned 17.
Anisimova won her first WTA title on clay in Bogota, Colombia, in April 2019, despite never having won a single tour-level match before that tournament. Staying warm on the dirt the following month, she rolled into the French Open semifinals without dropping a set before losing to Barty.
That clay-court season propelled her up the rankings and she would reach the world’s best No. 21 of her career that fall, but the last few years have been a struggle.
She withdrew from the 2019 US Open after her father and coach, Konstantin, died of a reported heart attack in mid-August. Although she played well to reach the semi-finals in Auckland in January 2020 before falling to Serena Williams, Anisimova hadn’t progressed beyond the quarter-finals in any tournament since until she won the Melbourne Summer Set tuning tournament earlier this month.
She competed in the Australian Open and was ranked 60th in the world, making her unseeded for the tournament.
“Last year was a huge struggle for me,” Anisimova told reporters on Friday. “Honestly, I didn’t think I – I mean, it’s not that I didn’t think, but I really wanted to have these moments again.
“Sometimes you doubt it, like what if I get injured and I can never play in a grand slam again? Like, those thoughts try to get into my head sometimes. Yeah, last year just wasn’t great, all my results wasn’t me I’m just really happy that I had a great pre-season with my team.”
Amanda Anisimova career record
With the win over Osaka, Anisimova has a record of 112-63 in singles on tour and an 8-0 in 2022.
Anisimova had lost nine consecutive games to top-20 players before knocking out 14th-ranked Osaka.
Her best Grand Slam result to date came in the 2019 French Open, where she reached the semi-finals.
She reached the fourth round during her Australian Open debut in 2019 and has the best runs of her career to the third round at the US Open (2020) and the second round at WImbledon (2019).
She is now 17-11 in grand slam matches.