June 25, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Pics: Townsend beats Anisimova to move into 2nd round

NEW YORK – Amanda Anisimova’s career is still in its infancy. But she’s already met countrywoman Taylor Townsend twice, at two of the biggest tournaments in their homeland.

The first meeting came in the first round of Miami last year, when Anisimova was still only 15. 

The second came Tuesday in New York, at the US Open.

Both times, Townsend came back from losing the first set to pull out a win in three.

Tuesday’s conditions were especially brutal. And there was no doubt they hit Anisimova harder, despite the fact that she lives and trains in Florida.

Townsend seemed unaffected, as much as anyone could be, in the 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Here’s what it looked like.

Townsend continues to put up victories very much off the radar. At 22, she has been where Anisimova is now – a talented, up-and-coming prospect under the microscope.

When she was 16, she was the top-ranked junior in the world.

On some levels, the scrutiny Townsend had to deal with was even more intense. That was partly because she’s African-American. It also was because of her infamous (and embarrassing for the USTA) standoff with her national organization in terms of how it got on her for her weight.

To “fit the mold” of what people think tennis players should look like, Townsend would have to fight her DNA and basically not eat enough to support the work she puts in on and off the court each day.  Could she do a little more? Everyone can. But while she’s up and down, she’s shown everyone that her movement isn’t hindered a bit. 

And, using Tuesday as an example, she’s certainly well fit enough to withstand even the most brutal conditions.

As she cut a fine figure in dominating on the spring ITF circuit in the U.S., Townsend hit a career high of No. 61 in singles last month. She will surpass it if she can upset 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round.

And her game remains a true delight.

Despite injury, Anisimova piling up quality wins

As for Anisimova, she missed more than four months after falling and twisting her ankle in her first-round match in Miami against Qiang Wang. She still won it, but she had to withdraw before a scheduled meeding with Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round.

She returned only in late July in San Jose, where she qualified, and then received wild cards in Cincinnati and this week in New York. She’ll also play mixed doubles with Michael Mmoh.

Anisimova’s ranking is just inside the top 140 (she hasn’t played the juniors since winning the junior US Open a year ago, but is still ranked No. 22 on the ITF list). But she has played like a top-50 player this year, and she has the wins to prove it.

Before the ankle injury, Anisimova had beaten Pauline Parmentier, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova at Indian Wells.

Two weeks ago in Cincinnati, she defeated Timea Babos and Petra Martic, both in straight sets.

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