MELBOURNE, Australia - Amanda Anisimova's Grand Slam breakthrough continues at the 2019 Australian Open with her biggest win yet, stunning No.11 seed Aryna Sabalenka, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second week of a major tournament for the first time in her career.
"This is an unreal feeling," she said during her on-court interview. "I can't believe this is happening right now. I was expecting a tough match because she's a great player, so I can't believe I got through this round."
The 17-year-old is making the most of her Melbourne debut, winning her first Grand Slam match draw match and backing up her upset of Brisbane International runner-up Lesia Tsurenko with an even more emphatic win over Sabalenka, securing victory after 65 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
"I'm really feeling good out here, playing some really good tennis, and I love playing in front of you guys," she continued, addressing the crowd. "I love this court."
Anisimova cracked the Top 100 last fall by making her first WTA final at the Hana-Cupid Japan Women's Open Championships, and looks set for an even bigger rise in Australia from how she raced through the opening set against Sabalenka.
The Belarusian was a darkhorse to not only win the title, but was one of 11 women in the running to leave the Australian Open with the No.1 ranking at the start of the tournament.
Though she won the Shenzhen Open to kick off 2019, Sabalenka had few answers to Anisimova's power and shotmaking, droping serve twice without getting any looks at breaking back.
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Anisimova went from strength to strength in the second set, saving break points at 2-0 and playing some incredible defense to pull off a forehand squash shot winner, passing Sabalenka at net.
The 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open champion was up against a wall serving down 4-1 and 15-40; though she briefly avoided the double break deficit, Anisimova was undeterred, holding and breaking for the impressive upset.
In all, it was an effortless display from Anisimova, who struck 21 winners to just nine unforced errors, 4 aces while winning 80% of her first serve points. Sabalenka could manage just 12 winners to 13 unforced errors, a testament to how much the American dicated play throughout the match.
Up next for Anisimova is either two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova or former World No.7 Belinda Bencic, who face off later in the day. Anisimova snapped Kvitova's 14-match winning streak at last year's BNP Paribas Open for her first Top 10 victory.