Amanda Anisimova used speed and crosscourt shots that earned her seventh career top ten win at the Qatar Total Open Monday night. In her tournament debut, the American teen kept the pace high to defeat fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 on centre court at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex. The upset marked Anisimova’s first since defeating Simona Halep at the French Open last year.
Playing in her fourth WTA tournament, the World No.7 eyed an improvement in her opening round against the American. With one win over her dating back to Cincinnati two years back, the Ukrainian needed a second to dig into her seventh appearance back in Qatar. The American took some time off between the Australian Open and the mid-east tournaments where she struggled early but won Sunday night in her opening round. The kick start pulled off by the 18-year-old gave her a shot at an upset with her current momentum.
The two had comfortable service games, but after a failed break chance by the fifth seed, Anisimova went on the offensive. Breaking Svitolina in the fourth gave the American a 3-1 lead as her opponent’s forehand was unbalanced and racked up errors on the returns. Going down 4-1, the Ukrainian called down coach Andrew Bettles who analyzed her game while trying to keep her positive.
With the serve back, Svitolina held firm in the sixth but still had to deal with the speed of Anisimova. The American kept up the ball striking against the fifth seed who remained sluggish on her return game. On serve to stay in the opening set, Svitolina put down a serve to love but saw the end nearing. Anisimova responded with a jump to two set points, holding one to end the first in 27 minutes. The American made 12 winners and had the first serve at 76 percent.
Improvements from Svitolina appeared in the second set, showing aggression during service in the rallies. She couldn’t break Anisimova despite forcing deuce in the second and going three breaks. The Ukrainian held again in the third but got nothing on the American in the fourth. Just when it looked as if the fifth seed had some aspects of her game running, a double fault flattened her offense. The American opened the door on deuce and scored it on another double fault marking her third of the match.
Svitolina called down Bettles again who told her to execute a couple of points each game and take time away from Anisimova. It was a tough task for the fifth seed as Anisimova consolidated the break of serve and used her crosscourt forehand to lead 4-2. Holds of serve were important for Svitolina, who needed to wait for her moment to strike. Anisimova denied a break in the eighth, earning a chance to serve for the match in the ninth.
Keeping the speed high level, Anisimova over a 15-40 deficit to force deuce and break Svitolina apart earning her the biggest win that took one hour and four minutes.
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