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Anisimova Is Craig Cignarelli’s Pick As A Tennis Star On The Rise

Amanda Anisimova from USA in action against Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 11 March 2018. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON



If you’ve been following my writing over the last week, you know I’ve been high on Amanda Anisimova’s game, predicting this kid will go deep in the tournament. Through qualies she displayed an uncommon composure, especially for a sixteen year-old, and a complete commitment to her aggressive game.


This morning I watched her compete against two-time Wimbledon winner, Petra Kvitova. The Czech is a southpaw wielding a huge forehand and a stay-low-with-the-J-Lo backhand. She has years of experience on tour and has run through hundreds of young players on her way to WTA titles. Thus, her shock at being demolished by this teenager was understandable.


Anisimova came out with the same tactics as earlier in the week. You can almost see her frothing at the opportunity to hammer an opponent’s serve, and she did so relentlessly today, catching baselines again and agin with stunning drives. Kvitova played much of the match on her back foot and if she left a single ball hanging, the young American would drive her into a corner, often with flat-out winners. Boxing trainer Cus D’Amato used to say former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, would throw punches with bad intentions. The same can be said of Anisimova’s backhands. She drops into a deep lunge, pivots the back foot hard and drives through the ball like Tyson throwing a right hand.


With a 6-2, 6-4 victory, the only reason the scoreline was close was because the youngster played two loose games to start the second set, double faulting twice and missing some easy forehands. If there is a weakness, pace to the forehand may be it. She is a little slow with the racquet tip and hits a touch late if you can push her back to that side. Still, at sixteen, there is time to improve. And that is what’s scary. She isn’t even close to her peak and she’s taken out some serious competition this week, and handily. Six days ago, during qualies, I texted a friend and said this kid is a top tenner within eighteen months. He laughed and said, “Show me!” Today, he texted back “I get it!” She may get there quicker than we think. Her fourth round opponent is Pliskova. With all of these casinos down here in the desert, I don’t see anyone betting against this kid. We shall see.

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