BOGOTA, Colombia - No.6 seed Amanda Anisimova had to dig deep to reach her first final of the year at the Claro Open Colsanitas, coming back from a set down against Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia to win, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2.
“It was another super tough match again, three sets,” Anisimova acknowledged afterward. “I’m just really happy with how I was playing and rising to each challenge. I’m really happy that I won.”
Anisimova, a Roland Garros Junior finalist, came into Bogota without scoring a win on clay in two years - now, she’s into the second WTA final of her career after Hiroshima in 2018. The victory also makes Anisimova just the second American player to reach the final in 21 editions of Bogota, and the first since Irina Falconi’s 2016 run to the title.
Meanwhile, her opponent Haddad Maia came into the matchup with lots of tennis under her belt: she had spent over 11 and a half hours on court compared to her opponent’s four and a half, in a run that saw her come through qualifying and take down defending champion Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and No.7 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo along the way.
The fatigue seemed to show in Haddad Maia’s slow start on Saturday against the 17-year-old. Haddad Maia struggled mightily with her serve - all five double faults from the first set came in her first two service games - but Anisimova just couldn’t take advantage of the chances coming her way.
Haddad Maia broke first to take the lead at 2-1, but Anisimova struck right back to get them on level footing. The Brazilian restored her lead a game later, at 3-2, and then put in a mammoth effort to stay in front. Anisimova created five break opportunities across Haddad Maia’s next three service games - at least one chance to break per game - but Haddad Maia was resilient and closed out the set with confidence.
The second set was a closely contested affair as Haddad Maia’s serve withstood an all-out assault from Anisimova. The American teenager created six break chances during the set - even holding set points at 5-4 and 6-5 - but each time Haddad Maia served her way out of trouble. Finally, Anisimova pulled away in the tiebreaker: after Anisimova let a 2-0 lead slip away from her, she raised her level after 2-2 and methodically reeled off five points in a row to take them into a deciding set.
As the match wore on, Haddad Maia looked more and more sluggish, and this time in the third set Anisimova did capitalize. Haddad Maia’s service woes reared their head again, and Anisimova reeled off two breaks in a row to open up a 4-1 lead. The Brazilian got one of the breaks back, but an untimely double fault handed it straight back to Anisimova at 5-2. She had to save five break points, but Anisimova served it out to take the match after two hours and 40 minutes on court.
“She’s a great player, and I’ve never played her before,” Anisimova said. “I was expecting a really tough match, because especially on clay she’s really good. So this is a good win for me, I’m really happy about it.”
Anisimova ultimately overpowered Haddad Maia from the ground, firing 38 winners and 37 unforced errors against the Brazilian’s 16 and 49, the latter figure being Haddad Maia’s undoing in addition to her 12 double faults. While Anisimova was able to create more break chances than Haddad Maia, she only converted on four of 17 - a figure she’d look to improve heading into the final.
Up next, Anisimova will take on the winner between Astra Sharma and No.11 seed Lara Arruabarrena - a former champion and two-time finalist here - as she seeks to lift her first WTA title.