French Open 2019: Little-known players make a splash

In the first matches of the day on Thursday, Amanda Anisimova, Iga Swiatek and Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov pulled off upsets in the second round of the French Open.

Amanda Anisimova reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.   -  AFP

In the first matches of the day on Thursday, three young women pulled off three upsets in the second round of the French Open. While one of them caught tennis fans’ eyes at the beginning of the year and the second is slowing gaining their attention, the third is an absolute unknown.

Here’s what we know about them:

Amanda Anisimova

Amanda Anisimova made waves at the Australian Open when she reached the fourth round. On Thursday, the 17-year-old beat in straight sets 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka, who she’d defeated in the third round of the Australian Open in January.

In April, Anisimova, the 2017 junior US Open champion, captured her first title on the WTA Tour, becoming the youngest American to do so since Serena Williams in 1999. She won the Copa Colsanitas in Colombia despite never having won a match on clay at that level before.

On Saturday, she’ll face Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round.

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek, the daughter of a Polish Olympic rower, reached the second round of the Australian Open this year. In April, she reached the final of the Ladies Open Lugano, where she lost to Polona Hercog.

Iga Swiatek was the 2018 junior singles Wimbledon and junior doubles French Open champion.   -  AP

 

On Thursday, the 2018 junior singles Wimbledon and junior doubles French Open champion stormed into the third round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-0 demolition of 16th seed Wang Qiang.

On Saturday, she’ll face the winner of the match between 21st seed Daria Kasatkina and Monica Puig.

Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov

A virtual unknown, Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov is the daughter of a Moldovan Olympian hurdler father and higher jumper mother.

The 21-year-old, who represents Spain, had never reached a Grand Slam main draw before, and her best performance as a junior had been a quarterfinals appearance at the 2015 Australian Open.

Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov had never reached a Grand Slam main draw before.   -  AFP

 

Bolsova Zadoinov made it through the qualifiers and then defeated former world No. 2 and 2010 Wimbledon and US Open runner-up Vera Zvonereva in first round. On Thursday, she beat the veteran Sorana Cirstea in two tiebreakers.

Next, she’ll face another player who’s reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time – Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur.