French Open finalist Coco Gauff falls to Anisimova at SW19
Coco Gauff was beaten by countrywoman Amanda Anisimova in an entertaining third round clash at Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon.
Gauff had been hoping to improve on her best ever Grand Slam performance at SW19 after she reached the final at Roland Garros last month, eventually losing out to world number one Iga Swiatek.
But Anisimova ultimately had too much firepower for the 18-year-old to handle, claiming a 6-7 6-2 6-1 victory in two hours and seven minutes.
The Centre Court clash was an all-American affair, and the players appeared evenly matched throughout much of what would prove to be a topsy-turvy opening set.
Despite being the younger of the two players, Gauff had more experience playing on grass coming into the match than her 20-year-old opponent.
She memorably beat Venus Williams on her debut at the All England Club in 2019 as a 15-year-old qualifier, eventually reaching the fourth round.
In contrast, Anisimova had never reached the third round at Wimbledon before this year’s Championships.
And Gauff’s greater experience was on display early on in the match, as the 18-year-old capitalised on a nervous start from her opponent to lead 3-0 with a break.
The 18-year-old then had chances to go a double break up, but after squandering her opportunity to press home her advantage she immediately dropped serve, gifting the game to Anisimova with a double fault.
Having now settled into the match, Anisimova began to target Gauff’s weaker forehand wing with her flat groundstrokes.
The older of the two Americans reaped the rewards for her aggression, breaking Gauff’s serve again to lead the match for the first time.
Amazing Anisimova 👏
Emotional scenes on Centre Court as @AnisimovaAmanda beats Coco Gauff 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/zsk62JhEMq
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2022
But the set then turned on its head again, as two poor dropshots and a missed overhead by Anisimova in the next service game allowed Gauff back into the opener.
And the match remained finely balanced throughout the rest of the first set, as both women held serve twice more to force a tiebreak.
The tiebreak itself played out in much the same way as the 12 games that had come before it, as both players lead the score line at various points.
But eventually it was Gauff who was able to hold her nerve in the decisive moments, claiming the breaker by seven points to four.
While by no means straightforward, the second set was far more one-sided than the first, as Anisimova managed to reduce her unforced error count and take advantage of Gauff’s low first serve percentage to level the match at one set all.
And Anisimova carried her momentum into the third set, one again breaking Gauff’s serve twice, before holding to love at 5-1 to emphatically serve out the match.
“It was my first match playing on Centre Court,” Anisimova said after the match. “I was so excited. Winning today is just so special and I’m very grateful for this experience, especially in front of a full crowd.”
The American will now face France’s Harmony Tan, who beat Serena Williams earlier on in the Championships, for a place in the quarterfinals.
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