Anisimova stuns defending champion Halep to reach French Open semi-finals

Press Association Sport 15:37 06/06/2019
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Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova produced a stunning performance to defeat defending champion Simona Halep in the French Open quarter-finals.

Anisimova is the first player born in the 2000s to reach the last eight at a slam and she overcame her nerves to hit Halep off the court in a 6-2 6-4 victory.

Halep’s defeat means there is guaranteed to be a first-time slam champion come Saturday, with Britain’s Johanna Konta the only one of the remaining quartet who had ever reached a singles semi-final before.

If Anisimova can keep playing like this, there is no reason it cannot be her. She is the youngest semi-finalist at Roland Garros since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006 and is yet to drop a set.

The daughter of Russian immigrants to the United States, she has been a rising star for a number of years and made her grand slam breakthrough by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open.

A prodigious ball-striker – particularly off her backhand side – and a fine mover, the 51st-ranked American raced through the first set, with Halep simply unable to find any answer.

Anisimova the surged into a 4-1 lead in the second set before the nerves kicked in and Halep fought back to level at 4-4.

Anisimova saved a break point to stop the rot and in the end it was Halep who was the more jittery player, serving a double fault to cough up a match point, which her opponent took with a backhand winner.

In the last four, Anisimova will take on another first-time grand slam semi-finalist in Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

The eighth seed is more thought of as a threat on faster surfaces but she has been in superb form this season and has carried that onto the clay.

Barty was a 6-3 7-5 winner over 14th seed Madison Keys, taking her second opportunity to serve out the victory.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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