MALLORCA, Spain -- The breakthrough season for Amanda Anisimova continued unabated on Thursday as the 17-year-old American moved into the Mallorca Open quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-4 second-round defeat of France’s Alizé Cornet.
In the first meeting between the players, No.5 seed Anisimova dispatched former World No.11 Cornet after 75 minutes of play to make the elite eight in the first grass-court WTA event of her career.
"It feels amazing to be in the quarterfinals at my first grass tournament, and I’ve been enjoying playing here a lot, and playing in front of the people in Spain," Anisimova said, following her victory. "It’s been a very enjoyable week."
"It was really hot and my opponent was playing very well, so it was quite a battle, especially in the end," Anisimova continued. "I’m really happy with how I was able to play in the end, and my performance, I had to make it rise."
The week continues a sterling run of form for Anisimova, who won her maiden WTA singles title in Bogota in April and defeated defending champion Simona Halep to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros in her most recent event.
World No.27 Anisimova out-winnered Cornet by 21 to 10 during the encounter, and saved seven of the eight break points she faced. She won nearly three-quarters of points on her first serve -- including 100 percent of those points in the first set.
The American teen will now take on World No.13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. Bencic, seeded No.3 this week, overcame an injured Shelby Rogers in their earlier match on Thursday. This will be their first meeting.
"I’ve seen [Bencic] play quite a lot, because she’s had a couple good years on the tour," said Anisimova. "She’s playing very well, and I’m really excited to play her and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."
Anisimova got off to a flying start, breaking Cornet in the first game with a forehand passing winner. The American continued her control of the opener in Cornet’s next service game as well, firing a stirring return to queue up another break point, where the Frenchwoman double faulted.
Now holding a double-break advantage, Anisimova fended off four break points in a protracted game to extend her lead to 4-0. Cornet finally held serve in her next two service games, but Anisimova stayed steely and eventually took the first set with a love hold. The American went 14-for-14 on points when she got her first serve into play during the opening stanza.
Anisimova maintained her momentum at the start of the second set, breaking Cornet in a close opening game, saving a break point to consolidate for 2-0, and earning a commanding lead after a fabulous forehand crosscourt winner closed out another service break for 3-0.
However, after five squandered chances, Cornet finally converted a break point in the following game with a backhand crosscourt winner, and then held to claw her way back to 3-2. Cornet then had another break point at 4-3, but despite dogged defense by the Frenchwoman, Anisimova won an outstanding rally to erase that opportunity, eventually holding for 5-3.
Cornet did well to save one match point on her serve at 5-3, but Anisimova garnered two more match points on her own serve at 5-4. A long forehand miscue cost the American one, but Cornet misfired on a dropshot on the following point, and Anisimova skipped into the quarterfinals.