French Open: Anisimova, Barty reach semis

French Open: Anisimova, Barty reach semis
Amanda Anisimova, Ashleigh Barty
Party, Jun 6 (Agencies): | Publish Date: 6/7/2019 12:00:00 AM IST

Teenager Amanda Anisimova put in one of the most impressive performances in recent French Open history on Thursday as she stunned defending champion Simona Halep 6-2 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.

Anisimova has been one of the revelations of the tournament so far, taking advantage of seeds falling around her to reach the last eight, but Halep represented a step up in terms of what she had faced in Paris thus far.

However the teenager showed no signs of nerves during her first appearance on Court Philippe Chatrier as she dismantled the reigning champion in the opening set.

Her forehand, already a well-documented weapon, was at its brilliant best but it was her backhand that really impressed, as Halep tried to target it only to discover there were no weaknesses to be found.

In a devastating period from 2-2, Anisimova won seven games in a row to claim the opening set and then move 3-0 up in the second.

In the fifth game of the second set Halep nearly pulled out the break on a number of occasions, with a couple of errors creeping into her opponent’s game.

However a quite sensational rally was won by Anisimova as she eventually held to retain her three-game lead.

Yet a crack had appeared and Halep pressed home the advantage. She broke twice to put increased pressure on the teenager, with Anisimova visibly stressed on court.

The American regrouped however in a crucial hold before then forcing errors from Halep to break and secure victory.

Anisimova, who is yet to drop a set at Roland Garros this year, will now face Australian Ash Barty for a place in the final.

Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty is one win away from a place in the French Open final after dispatching Madison Keys 6-3 7-5 in her last-eight clash on Suzanne Lenglen Court.

Barty avenged her defeat to the American world No.16 at Roland Garros in the opening round two years, to reach the semifinals of a grand slam for the first time. World No.8 Barty took out the first set in under half-an-hour after converting her fourth set point and clinched the match on her first match point.

The 23-year-old from Queensland looked in control throughout and even managed to overcome a hiccup in the second set when Keys broke her as she was serving for the match.

However, she responded magnificently against last year’s semifinalist and broke straight back before closing out the match to love.

Despite being on the receiving end of eight aces, Barty’s return game was solid throughout as she won 40 per cent of her receiving points and converted 80 per cent on her own serve.

Following the rain that washed out the whole of Wednesday’s schedule, Barty must now play three matches in as many days to become the first Australian to reach the final in Paris since Samantha Stosur nine years ago.

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