Just 15, Anisimova’s stock rising quickly

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Amanda Anisimova may not be “right this moment”.

But after reaching the final of the $80,000 ITF tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. Saturday, she’s “watch out world, I’m coming – quickly.”

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Big and strong but still only 15 years old, the Florida resident (via New Jersey) was ranked No. 479 before the start of the tournament, with only four events factored into her rankings calculation.

Compare that to how the number of events the players ranked above her had to play to earn roughly the same number of points, and you see it’s already an impressive effort.
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Will meet Govortsova in the final

After rolling over Victoria Duval 6-0, 6-2 in Saturday’s semifinal, the teenager is guaranteed to move just outside the top 300 in the rankings. If she can beat veteran Olga Govortsova of Belarus on Sunday, she would jump to around No. 265 in the WTA Tour rankings.

Anisimova is coached by both her father Konstantin and fellow Floridian Nick Saviano, who worked with Genie Bouchard for much of her career until last year. First brought to Saviano’s academy when she was 10, Saviano told Tennis.Life that as time has passed, he has worked with her more and more.

The team effort shows. Anisimova has improved by leaps and bounds since a year ago, when she was already good enough to reach the French Open junior girls’ final at age 14. She was competing in her first junior Grand Slam tournament.

Her footwork is better; her service motion is appreciably simplified and clearly has room to get even better. Her power is even more effortless. Best of all, she instinctively seems to have a grasp of when she has to improvise. On a clay court, that’s a big plus. It’s no surprise her junior record on true red clay is 45-5.

Basically out of it in the second set against Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland in that Roland Garros final, she kept fighting. She evened it up at 5-5 before Masarova, two years older and much more experienced, went on to take the title.

Still a good week for Duval

Duval, who trounced No. 1 seed and world No. 56 Genie Bouchard 6-0, 6-3 in the quarter-finals the previous day, had nothing to hurt her younger opponent; she didn’t even get on the scoreboard until she was already down 0-6, 0-3.

In her first tournament since last year’s Wimbledon, Duval made plenty of headway. In as a wild card with a WTA Tour ranking of No. 896, she’ll jump to just outside the top 500 with this week’s effort.

Anisimova
The shoulder taping didn’t seem to hinder her at all in a quick win over Duval Saturday (USTA Pro Circuit livestream)

In that area of the rankings, everyone around Duval is scratching for a point here and there at the lowest ITF levels. Getting to the semi-finals of a $80,000 tournament allows her to leap over hundreds of competitors.

Anisimova had her shoulder taped for the match Saturday, a new addition since the beginning of the week. She and her opponent gave their opponents a walkover in the doubles semi-final.

Great start to the USTA French Open playoff

After Sunday, Anisimova will be leading the standings for the USTA’s French Open wild-card playoff. The free pass into the Paris main draw will be awarded to the American player with the two best results during a four-tournament period that began this week. (The men can also count ATP Tour main-draw results in their totals).

There wasn’t much else Duval could do but smile, when another winner from Anisimova whizzed by her Saturday. (USTA Pro Circuit livestream)

The women’s race moves to Dothan, Alabama next week. After that, it heads to Charlottesville, Va. and then Charleston, S.C.

Even if she doesn’t win the title on Sunday, the 70 ranking points Anisimova would earn for making the final may count, big-time. The finalists’ points at the $80,000 event are just 10 fewer than the 80 for winning any of the other three $60,000 tournaments.

Anisimova was admitted into both Dothan and Charlottesville tournaments on a junior-exempt status. She’s well out of the qualifying at the final event in Charleston. But there’s a lot of road between now, and then.

If she can put up another good result next week – even if she doesn’t win it – she not only would remain in contention for the wild card, she would have a shot at squeezing into the French Open qualifying on her own merit. The entry deadline for that is April 17.

That’s progress.

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