Australian Open

Sharapova-inspired teen Anisimova dreaming big

2019-01-18 11:18
Amanda Anisimova
Amanda Anisimova (AP)

Melbourne - Teenager Amanda Anisimova played the match of her life to continue a dream run to the last 16 at the Australian Open on Friday, inspired by idol Maria Sharapova.

The American upset 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes to set-up a fourth-round meeting with either eighth seeded Czech Petra Kvitova or Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, and she has her sights set high.

"It was probably one of the best matches of my life. I played really well today. She's a really tough opponent, so I was just really preparing myself for a really tough match," she said. 

"I was putting it all out there. I was staying relaxed."

At 17 years and five months, Florida-based Anisimova, whose parents are Russian, is the youngest player left in the tournament.

She is making her debut appearance at Melbourne Park and her only other two Grand Slam appearances at the French and US Opens have ended in first-round exits.

"This is an unreal feeling, I can't believe that this is happening right now," she added.

"I was just so excited. I was going to be playing on a big court. I was just trying to have fun out there, and I was really enjoying myself."

Ranked 87 in the world, she reached the quarter-finals in Auckland this month and said she modelled herself on Sharapova, who was the last teenager to win a Grand Slam.

"I would want to be the (next) person to win a Slam as a teenager," she said.

"I have always looked up to her (Sharapova) and I was watching her when I was little. She's a great person to look up to. 

"I always enjoyed watching her play and all of her interviews. She's a great person off the court."


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