INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Playing in just her fifth professional match career, American wildcard Amanda Anisimova claimed the biggest win in her career to snap Petra Kvitova’s winning streak in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
The 16-year-old played well above her World No.149 ranking to score the straight sets victory, 6-2, 6-4, in just over an hour.
Read more: Pliskova grinds past Zhang in Indian Wells
“I'm still in shock,” Anisimova admitted in her post-match press conference. “She's the best player I have ever played, and it was the biggest court I have ever played on. So it was definitely nerve-wracking, but I was enjoying it so much out there and I was playing my best. It was a good day.”
No.9 seed Kvitova came into Indian Wells riding high on a 14-match winning streak, the joint-longest streak of her career, after claiming back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg and Doha.
But Anisimova, the youngest of all the teenagers at the start of the tournament, showed her quality from the very first point, charging ahead to a 3-0 lead before the Czech found her footing.
Anisimova matched Kvitova’s pace shot for shot, and smothered her opponent’s attacking game - she allowed Kvitova to hit a paltry two winners in the opening set. The American also looked fearsome on serve, and didn’t face a break point until the second set. Anisimova broke once more to seal the opening set 6-2.
Kvitova took advantage of a dip in Anisimova’s form to grab the first break in the second, consolidating to a 2-0 lead and looking ready to make another one of her famous three-set comebacks. But Anisimova put a decisive end to that idea, breaking back to level at 3-3 and reeling off another two games in a row to get ahead 5-3.
Having looked solid for the entire match, the 16-year-old showed her first sign of nerves as she found herself serving for the match, Kvitova breaking once more. But she didn’t falter in the next game - taking a commanding break to love as Kvitova continued to struggle to put a first serve into play - to close out the match after an hour and 11 minutes.
“I have been working on that a lot, just not showing any emotions, just fighting the whole time,” Anisimova said. “That's what I was working on the most when I had my offseason and I have been doing that really well these past two weeks.
“I was enjoying the moment, but at the same time, I was trying not to make myself nervous because of the huge crowd, and everything, and the big stage.”
With her victory, Anisimova becomes the first 16-year-old to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells since 2005. The last player to do so was also a wildcard, Ukraine’s Viktoriya Kutuzova.
Up next, she’ll face the No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova, who needed two hours and 30 minutes to take down No.32 seed Zhang Shuai.