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Monday, December 05, 2022

American Anisimova knocks out top seed Sabalenka in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC – American Amanda Anisimova rallied after losing the opening set to beat top seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Charleston Open.

In more surprise, Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova and the United States’ Coco Vandeweghe both advanced to the last eight with victories over seeded opponents.

Alexandrova defeated No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1, while Vandeweghe beat country woman and sixth seed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, seeded second, defeated American Claire Liu 3-6, 7-6 (8, 6-1) to drop her first set before entering the quarter-finals.

Last summer, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland defeated ninth seed Madison Keys of the United States 6-4, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Ons Jabeur did double duty to make it to the quarter-finals after winning twice on Thursday. Jabeur’s match with Emma Navarro was halted on Wednesday due to bad weather and she took a 6-3, 5-2 lead. The two returned on Thursday and Jaboor quickly closed things up by winning four straight points.

Later Jabeur defeated Romania’s Irina-Kamelia Begu 6-3, 6-2.

The Tunisian was disappointed that he and Navarro could not finish the match on Wednesday. ‘But, you know, it is what it is,’ she said. ‘I’m glad I finished early in the morning. And tonight was really tough.’


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Jaboor said that Begu found some rhythm in the middle of the match. “But I’m glad I won my serve in the end,” she said.

The situation in Poland’s Magda Linate was worse than Jabur. Lynette, whose match on Wednesday was also washed out, defeated seventh seed Leyla Fernandez of Canada 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the afternoon. Lynette saved four break points for the win in the final game of 17 minutes. She topped Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the night.

In all, Lynette played 55 games in four hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds to win tennis to advance.

Sabalenka won his first match in nearly six weeks on Wednesday and went through the opening set without much trouble. But 20-year-old Anisimova, who is ranked 47th in the world, found her rhythm after the break as Sabalenka started making mistakes.

Sabalenka had two straight double faults and went down 5-3 and was kicked out of the set by Anisimova. Anisimova broke Sabalenka’s serve twice in the third set to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka closed 5–4, but Anisimova finished the match with her sixth ace and improved 3–0 against the fifth-ranked player in the world.

Anisimova will take on Vandeweghe on Friday to advance to the semi-finals.

“It’s a very good result, like in the quarter-finals and especially against the top seeded players,” Anisimova said. ‘It’s a huge confidence booster.’

Badosa also had a poor start against the 21-year-old Liu. Badosa was leading 5-3 in the second set when Liu set up a tie-breaker by winning three of the last four matches. Liu was two points away from winning the match four times in the tiebreak, yet Badosa turned down each challenge.

Badosa converted his fourth set point from a backhand winner to close the set, which lasted 72 minutes. He then regained control to advance into the third set.

In the quarterfinals, Badosa takes on Bencic, who overcame a nearly two-hour rain delay after winning the opening set against Keys. After the rain stopped and the court dried up, Bencic stopped the American, who was the last remaining defending champion in the field.

Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, seeded 12th, topped France’s Alizee Cornet 7-6(5), 7-5.

The tournament was affected by inclement weather throughout the week and Thursday was no different. The forecast calls for dry weather on Friday and a championship match on Sunday.

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