American teenager Amanda Anisimova survived a rain-plagued day to reach the semifinals of the Hana-cupid Japan Women's Open after a straight-set win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
WTA Staff
September 14, 2018

HIROSHIMA, Japan -- Seventeen-year-old American qualifier Amanda Anisimova reached the first WTA semifinal of her career at the Hana-cupid Japan Women's Open on Friday, overcoming a roughly three-hour rain interruption to dispatch Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-1.

Anisimova had dropped only four games total in her first two rounds of the main draw, and while Schmiedlova put up slightly sterner resistance, the quarterfinal encounter still firmly went the American's way after only 66 minutes of play.

Anisimova broke WTA World No.83 Schmiedlova five times during the match, and fired 22 winners to only 14 unforced errors. Schmiedlova, who won her third WTA singles title in Bogota earlier this year, had 12 unforced errors, including three double faults, with only five winners to counteract her miscues.

In the final four, World No.134 Anisimova will take on No.1 seed Zhang Shuai of China.

"I feel amazing," she said after the match. "I was just preparing to battle out there. With the rain, it was tough for both of us. It was hard to stay mentally tough because we had to keep going on and off. I just tried to stay mentally focused and play point by point."

Schmiedlova started the match by holding double game point in her opening service game, but Anisimova quickly established first-set dominance by reeling off four straight points and breaking to start the encounter. It set the tone for the opening frame right before a roughly three-hour rain delay took place during the middle of the second game.

When play re-commenced, Anisimova picked up right where she left off, powering groundstrokes past the Slovakian to win 12 points in a row and reach 4-0, 0-30. Schmiedlova did regroup in that game to hold serve and get on the scoreboard, but Anisimova held once more with winners off both wings to reach 5-1.

The American stumbled for the first time serving for the set at 5-2, and fired a forehand error long to allow the Slovak to claw one break back. But Anisimova broke for the one-set lead in the next game after a brilliant backhand forced an error from Schmiedlova on break point. Anisimova had 13 winners in the opening set, while Schmiedlova only had one.

It was more of the same in the second set, as Anisimova obtained the early break for a 2-0 lead after another powerful forehand, and the American never looked back from there.

Schmiedlova tried to fight through her service game at 4-1 as best she could, fending off four break points with some exceptional forehands of her own. But Anisimova claimed a fifth chance with an excellent crosscourt backhand winner, and finally converted the break after a wide backhand from the Slovakian.

Serving for the match at 5-1, Anisimova saw one match point fall by the wayside as Schmiedlova, going for broke, crushed an aggressive service return. But the American reached a second match point and ended a series of increasingly strong forehands by thumping a clean winner from that side to seal her first Tour-level semifinal.