MELBOURNE, Australia – All of 17, never a winner of a Grand Slam match until this week, Amanda Anisimova is making quite a first impression at the Australian Open.
Anisimova showed why there are those who consider her a possible future star, producing one spectacular shot after another Friday to upset 11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 and reach the fourth round.
She is the youngest American to get this far at Melbourne Park since Jennifer Capriati in 1993 — and at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at the 1998 French Open.
"This is an unreal feeling," Anisimova said in an on-court interview. "I can't believe that this is happening right now."
It's not just that Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey and is based in Florida, has knocked off two seeds already, including the hard-hitting Sabalenka, who was many a pundit's pick for a deep run at Melbourne Park.
Or that she has dropped a measly total of 17 games through three matches.
In the men's draw, Roger Federer dispatched one youngster and set his sights on facing another. The 37-year-old, seeking a third consecutive title in Melbourne, dismissed 21-year-old American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. He now takes on 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Maria Sharapova, whose only title at Melbourne Park came 11 years ago, faced defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in a match that was in progress at deadline of this edition of the Star Tribune, as was No. 5 seed Sloane Stephens against Petra Martic.
Winners Thursday included top-seeded Simona Halep, who got all she could handle from 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin before taking the last four games to emerge with a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory. She will next face Venus Williams, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 winner over Alize Cornet. The winner of that could face Serena Williams in the fourth round.