Amanda Anisimova plays a forehand at the 2019 French Open on June 07, 2019 in Paris.
A U.S. woman will not win or even compete for the title at the French Open this year, but the 2019 tournament will likely be remembered for the emergence of the next generation of stars, led by teenager Amanda Anisimova.
The unseeded 17-year-old from Freehold, New Jersey, reached the semifinals at Roland Garros before falling to No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 on Friday. Anisimova was the last U.S. player still active in the tournament, though three American women had reached the quarterfinals.
Barty has taken down five Americans in her journey to the final.
Ranked No. 51 in the world and the youngest player in the WTA top 100, Anisimova’s wins in Paris also included a straight-set victory over defending champion and No. 3 seed Simona Halep of Romania for her first-ever victory against a top-five opponent in Thursday’s quarterfinal as well as a straight-set victory over No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the round of 64.
In the process, Anisimova — who was born Aug. 31, 2001 — became the first player born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam semifinal and the youngest American to reach a semifinal since Venus Williams lost to Martina Hingis at the US Open in 1997 at the same age.
Anisimova showed some nerves early on and trailed Barty 5-0 in the first set, then mounted a dramatic comeback that led all the way to her winning the opener. At that point, Anisimova had yet to drop a set in her six matches at Roland Garros.
She then took a 3-0 lead in the second set, but then it was Barty’s turn to answer. Barty won the next six games to even things up at 1-1. Barty then took a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaking third set en route to winning 6-3.
While Anisimova might have been the biggest surprise of the tournament, she wasn’t the only one. Sofia Kenin, a 20-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Florida, and 2014 Youth Olympian, stunned four-time Olympic champion Serena Williams with a straight-sets victory in the round of 32.