Amanda Who? American Teen Puts Tennis World on Notice

Amanda Anisimova, 17, upsets defending champ and advances to semifinals
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2019 9:40 AM CDT
Amanda Who? American Teen Puts Tennis World on Notice
Amanda Anisimova of the US celebrates winning her quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Romania's Simona Halep.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Even those who don't follow tennis might be hearing the name Amanda Anisimova a lot over the coming days—and beyond. Anisimova is a 17-year-old American who just pulled off an enormous upset at the French Open: She knocked off defending champ Simona Halep of Romania in fairly easy fashion, 6-2, 6-4, reports ESPN. Now the 51st-ranked Anisimova will move on to the semifinals. More about the rising star:

  • Jersey girl: Anisimova was born in Freehold, NJ, but raised in Florida, reports the New York Post. Her parents moved to the US from Russia in 1998, three years before she was born, and she now lives in Aventura, Fla., reports USA Today.
  • The irony: Anisimova's parents emigrated to give older daughter Maria a better opportunity in tennis. Maria would go on to play college tennis at Penn, but, as the New York Times notes, it was younger sister Amanda who would turn out to be the prodigy. The story notes that Anisimova's main coach in her early years was her self-taught father, Konstanin.

  • Milestones: She's the youngest American to make the French Open semis since Jennifer Capriati in 1990 and the youngest American to make the semis anywhere since Venus Williams in 1997, reports France 24. "I have no idea about who did what at what age," she says, per the AP. "People tell me, and then I just forget after a second. I don't really care about it too much." She also earned a wild-card entry at the French Open at the age of 15, though she lost in the first round.
  • Her style: Anisimova, who's 5 feet, 11 inches tall, is known for her aggressive play. She "takes balls early, not waiting for a full bounce, and uses her strong shots to dictate points and wrong-foot her opponents," the AP notes.
  • The win: See the winning point against Halep here, along with Anisimova's celebration, via a tweet from the French Open titled "Amazing Amanda!"
  • The future: In the short term, Anisimova plays No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Friday. Longer term? "Actually what I want to do is go to online college while I'm in my pro career and then go to med school after I finish," the home-schooled Anisimova told the New York Times in 2017.
(The path to the French Open title this year has gotten a bit easier: Already, Serena Williams and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka are out.)

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