French Open 2019: Halep loses to unseeded teenager Amanda Anisimova

French Open 2019: Halep loses to unseeded teenager Amanda Anisimova

American teenager Amanda Anisimova reached the semi-finals of the French Open with a straight-set win over defending champion Simona Halep.

Romanian third seed Halep, 27, lost 6-2 6-4 to the unseeded 17-year-old. Anisimova had never won a match at Roland Garros before this year but is yet to drop a set on the way to her first Grand Slam semi-final.

The world number 51 will face Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty, who beat American Madison Keys 6-3 7-5.

Anisimova is the youngest player to reach a major semi-final since Nicole Vaidisova at the 2007 Australian Open.

“This is honestly more than I could ever have asked for,” she said. “If I didn’t look nervous it’s because I wasn’t.

“I don’t think it will sink in, at least not for today. It’s crazy. I really can’t believe the result. Getting the opportunity to play against Simona, that’s amazing, but how it ended is even crazier to me.”

As well as winning her solitary Grand Slam title in Paris, former world number one Halep, 27, was runner-up at this tournament in 2017 and 2014.

But her defeat means there are no Grand Slam champions left in the women’s draw and ensures that Saturday’s winner will be the ninth different Grand Slam champion in the last 10 majors.

“I feel sad because every time when I lose, I’m sad,” said Halep. “And I’m a little bit upset because I couldn’t make my game. I couldn’t move normally.”

Anisimova hails from Russian parentage, although her mother and father emigrated to America before she was born, ironically because of the tennis potential of her older sister.

She is one of two teenagers in the last four as Czech 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova will face Britain’s Johanna Konta in Friday’s other semi-final.

The defeat of Halep is not Anisimova’s first upset at Roland Garros. She also beat 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets in the second round.

The American missed the entire 2018 clay season with a right foot injury but has made up for it this year, winning her first WTA title in Bogota two months ago.

That made her the youngest American to win a tour title since Serena Williams did so aged 17 at Indian Wells in 1999.

Anisimova’s previous longest run at a Grand Slam came at her maiden Australian Open earlier this year, where she reached the fourth round.

If she goes on to win the title, she will become the first teenager to win a Grand Slam since Maria Sharapova claimed the 2006 US Open aged 19 and the first at Roland Garros since Croatia’s Iva Majoli in 1997.

Halep on the ropes from the outset

Anisimova got the first break of the match, to lead 4-2, after forcing Halep to hit the ball long as she was pinned back behind the baseline.

Halep had a break point in the next game, but Anisimova held and broke Halep’s serve once more to win the first set in 28 minutes.

Despite Halep hitting an 80mph winner, Anisimova broke again to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set.

As chants of ‘Simona’ broke out on Philippe-Chatrier, Anisimova saved three break points to hold serve and lead 4-1.

Halep eventually broke back as the American hit a ball long, but a double fault at 5-4 down brought up match point and former French Open junior finalist Anisimova kept her composure to win just her eighth match at a Grand Slam.

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