History maker Anisimova soars past Sabalenka

Published by AAP

Anisimova next faces Petra Kvitova or Belinda Bencic in the last 16 at Melbourne Park.
The American teenager is the first player, men’s or women’s, born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam fourth round.

Amanda Anisimova notched one of the biggest wins of her burgeoning career, stunning 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets at the Australian Open to surge into a maiden Grand Slam fourth round.

The youngest player remaining in the women’s draw blew the highly rated Belarusian off the court 6-3 6-2 in a little over an hour to hail one of her finest performances.

“Probably one of the best matches of my life. I played really well today,” stated the 17-year-old.

“She’s a really tough opponent, so I was just really preparing myself for a really tough match. I was putting it all out there. I was staying relaxed, so I was playing really well.”

Scrambling from side to side on the baseline, Anisimova produced one of the shots of the first week, with a loopy slice forehand at full stretch in the second set getting past Sabalenka and landing in the corner.

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Sabalenka is the second seeded scalp in two matches for the 87th-ranked Anisimova, who swatted aside 24th seed Lesia Tsurenko in the second round.

“I had a lot of confidence going into the tournament, like anything is possible, but I was taking it one match at a time, first-round win would be amazing and I just kept winning,” said the 2017 US Open girls champion.

“Hopefully I can win my next round, this is an unreal feeling, but this is a great accomplishment already.”

Anisimova will next meet No.8 seed Petra Kvitova, who she beat at Indian Wells last year, after Kvitova beat Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.

The youngster idolises Sharapova, who she could meet in the final eight if results go their way.

“Definitely Maria is someone I look up to so much. She’s an amazing athlete,” Anisimova said. “I always enjoyed watching her play and all of her interviews. She’s a great person off the court, too.”

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