Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka’s stay in Melbourne this year was short, thanks to a rising American star.
Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old from New Jersey, stunned the four-time grand slam winner Friday, saving two match points on the way to a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win to reach the fourth round.
“I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” said Anisimova, who moves on to play the top-ranked player in the world, Australia’s Ash Barty.
Here’s everything you need to know about the young American who has taken one of the game’s giants out of the first grand slam of the year and will be looking for another huge upset the next time she takes the court.
Who is Amanda Anisimova?
Anisimova was born in Freehold, NJ, to parents who had recently emigrated from Russia, but the family moved to the Miami area when she was 3 so Amanda and her older sister Maria could concentrate on tennis.
She rose through the junior ranks, reaching as high as No. 2 in the world as a 14-year-old in 2016. Anisimova reached the second round of US Open qualifying that year and made her WTA main draw debut at the Miami Open in the spring of 2017.
She beat Coco Gauff in the final to win the US Open girls’ singles title that fall and broke into the top 100 of the WTA rankings in 2018, making the final of the Japan Women’s Open in Hiroshima about two weeks after turning 17.
Anisimova won her first WTA title on clay in Bogota, Colombia, in April 2019, despite never having won a single tour-level match on the surface before that tournament. She stayed hot on the dirt the following month, rolling to the French Open semifinals without dropping a set before losing to Barty.
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That clay-court season propelled her up the rankings, and she would reach a career-best No. 21 in the world that fall, but the last couple of years have been a struggle.
She pulled out of the 2019 US Open after her father and coach, Konstantin, died of a reported heart attack in mid-August. Though she played well to reach the semifinals in Auckland in January 2020 before falling to Serena Williams, Anisimova had not moved past the quarterfinals in any tournament since then until winning the Melbourne Summer Set tune-up tournament earlier this month.
Entering the Australian Open, she was ranked 60th in the world, leaving her unseeded for the tournament.
“Last year was a huge struggle for me,” Anisimova told reporters Friday. “Honestly, I didn’t think that I would – I mean, it’s not that I didn’t think, but I really wanted to be having these moments again.
“Sometimes you doubt it, like what if I get injured and I’ll never be able to play in a grand slam again? Like, those thoughts try to creep up in my head sometimes. Yeah, last year was just not great, all my results I wasn’t happy with. I’m just really happy that I had a great preseason with my team.”
Amanda Anisimova career record
With the victory over Osaka, Anisimova has a 112-63 career singles record on tour, and an 8-0 mark in 2022.
Anisimova had lost nine consecutive matches against top-20 players before knocking off the 14th-ranked Osaka.
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Her best grand slam result to date came in the 2019 French Open, where she reached the semifinals.
She made it to the fourth round in her Australian Open debut in 2019 and has career-best runs 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.