Friday, January 18, 2019

Anisimova, 17, routs No. 11 seed; Stephens, Tiafoe win

Amanda Anisimova displays her credential at the Indian
Wells Challenger last February. Photo courtesy of JFS
   Amanda Anisimova, a 17-year-old American, dismantled No. 11 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes on Thursday (California time) to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
   Sabalenka, 20, is coached by former Northern California resident Dmitry Tursunov.
   Anisimova, who won her maiden professional title in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger at 15, has advanced to the second week of a major for the first time.
   Anisimova will meet No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova, who beat Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-1, 6-4. Anisimova defeated Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon singles champion, 6-2, 6-4 in the third round at Indian Wells last March in their only previous meeting.
   Meanwhile, No. 30 seed and 2008 Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova eliminated No. 3 seed and defending champ Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
   No. 5 seed Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, topped No. 31 seed Petra Martic of Croatia 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5). Stephens will play Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who dismissed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-0, 6-3 in 60 minutes. Pavlyuchenkova played for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis at 15 in 2006.
   On the men's side, 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe of Orlando, Fla., outlasted Andreas Seppi, a 34-year-old Italian, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Tiafoe, who won the 2016 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at 18, is the last remaining U.S. man in singles. He will face No. 20 seed Grigor Dimitrov, a 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 winner over Thomas Fabbiano of Italy and a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist.
   Fabbiano, only 5-foot-8 (1.73 meters), reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger last August as the top seed.
   No. 3 seed Roger Federer, seeking his third consecutive Australian Open title and seventh overall, dismantled Taylor Fritz, a 21-year-old American, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. Fritz won the $100,000 Sacramento and Fairfield Challengers back-to-back in 2015 at 17.
   In the second round of men's doubles, No. 4 seeds and ex-Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan beat Adrian Mannarino of France and Andreas Mies of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
   Like Federer, the 40-year-old Bryans seek their seventh Australian Open title. The difference is that the Bryans' last one came in 2013. They are playing in their first major since Bob underwent hip surgery in August.
   Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas, and Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, beat Austin Krajicek of Bryan, Texas, and Artem Sitak, a Russia native who plays for New Zealand, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
   In the first round, Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin of France defeated Mackenzie McDonald, from Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., 6-4, 6-4.

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