American Amanda Anisimova called Saturday at Wimbledon “the most special day of my career”. A win was just the icing on the cake.
The 20-year-old No. 20 seed rallied from a set to defeat fellow No. 11 seed Coco Gauff on her center court debut to reach the fourth round of the Championships to the first time. After dropping the first set from a winning position, Anisimova bounced back in 2 hours and 7 minutes for a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 victory. The two young compatriots have now shared their two career meetings on the pro circuit.
“It’s the first time I’ve played on center court. It’s the most special day, I think, of my career,” Anisimova said during her on-court interview. “It’s just a huge privilege to play on this court…to play Coco. She’s an amazing player and she just made it to a Grand Slam final. Before the game, I was just trying to prepare to soak up this moment whether I win or lose. Winning today is so special.
“I think the worst thing for a tennis player is to lose 7-6 in the first set… It’s really important to just bounce back and give everything I have. It was very easy to do , especially on this court, even though it was extremely exhausting.”
Band history: Both players led by a break in the first set; Gauff started the stronger of the two and led 3-0 before Anisimova won four straight. After over an hour of play, the set went in Gauff’s favor in a tie-break; from 4-1 down, Gauff won the last six points.
Anisimova bounced back strong; she broke Gauff’s serve three times in the second set and twice in the third to complete the return. Although nerves were apparent in the biggest game between peers so far, Anisimova found a winning strategy and stuck to it; she broke Gauff’s forehand and finished when the opportunity presented itself. Although she hit twice as many unforced errors as Gauff, she also hit 10 other winners.
NextNext: Anisimova will next face France’s Harmony Tan, whose career-defining tournament continued with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Britain’s Katie Boulter in Round 3. The pair, in fact, played a Grand Slam before; in her Roland Garros semi-final three years ago, Anisimova won 6-3, 6-1 over Tan in the first round.
Harmony Tan stays cool to reach Wimbledon in week two
Tomljanovic rallies to return in week two
Last summer, Ajla Tomljanovic reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by eventual champion and fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty. A year later, she is back in Week 2 thanks to a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 13 seed Barbora Krejcikova.
Almost repeating the result, says Tomljanovic, gave him confidence.
“Coming in, you’re not seeded, so you don’t know what can happen. Even if you are, it’s a Slam. There’s always upsets,” she said . “I don’t know what my form really was, but I just knew I could produce good tennis, but doing it is really nice. It kind of confirms that maybe I belong here.”
After losing serve three times in the first set, Tomljanovic found her form as she got used to the Czech’s style of play. She forced a decider by breaking serve in the 10th game of the second set and got the decisive break of service in the sixth game of the third. She never faced a break point in the final set until the last match, where she saved two before winning the match.
“It was a tough start. I never faced her, and it really caught me off guard to see how she mixed up the rhythm and completely lost my intensity. You know: what I had, the idea of what I wanted to do on the court,” Tomljanovic said.
“Fortunately, I didn’t let it last longer than that first set. I managed to play a bit more on my terms. I just fought through that second set. Then I feel like that third one was just playing good tennis. I think like the few clutch moments where I played well, where I was down from Love-30, and just really happy to close it out.”