MELBOURNE, Australia — All of 17, never the winner of a Grand Slam match until this week, Amanda Anisimova is making quite a first impression at the Australian Open.

Anisimova showed precisely why there are those who consider her a future star, as she produced one spectacular shot after another Friday to upset 11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2 and reach the fourth round.

“I want to win this tournament,” Anisimova said, tapping her right index finger on a table for emphasis at her postmatch news conference. “Right now.”

She’s the youngest American to get this far at Melbourne Park since Jennifer Capriati in 1993 – and at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at the 1998 French Open.

“This is an unreal feeling,” Anisimova said. “I can’t believe that this is happening right now.”

Believe it, kid. She captured a ton of attention on Day 5, when defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was knocked out by 2008 champion Maria Sharapova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Another American woman, 35th-ranked Danielle Collins, joined Anisimova in earning a debut trip to the round of 16 at a major with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 19 Caroline Garcia. Up next for Collins will be three-time major champion and former No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who needed less than an hour to overwhelm 240th-ranked Australian wild-card entry Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0.

Advertisement

At the 2006 U.S. Open, when she was 19, Sharapova became the most recent teen to claim a Slam title. Anisimova grew up cheering for Sharapova – they now share an agent – and would love to match her feat of winning a major before age 20.

“I respect her a lot, because I think she’s young and has a great game. I mean, she’s really proving what she can do,” said Sharapova. “She has a really bright future ahead of her.”

Fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka, the reigning U.S. Open champion, rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 28 Su-Wei Hsieh early Saturday.

In the men’s draw, Roger Federer dismissed 21-year-old Taylor Fritz of the U.S., 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, and Rafael Nadal beat 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Marin Cilic rallied from two sets down against Fernando Verdasco.

Frances Tiafoe, an American who turns 21 on Sunday, got to the fourth round at a major for the first time by defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.