Anisimova returns to tour with win vs. Pavlyuchenkova in Auckland

Anisimova returns to tour with win vs. Pavlyuchenkova in Auckland

Amanda Anisimova made a triumphant return to Hologic WTA Tour action on New Year’s Day, defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-4 in their first-round clash at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

Anisimova, the former World No.21 and 2019 Roland Garros semifinalist, was playing her first match since a first-round loss to Arantxa Rus in Madrid eight months ago.

Read more: How art helped Anisimova recover from burnout and plot her return

The 22-year-old American needed 1 hour and 55 minutes to oust 2021 Roland Garros finalist Pavlyuchenkova. It marks Anisimova’s first win since she beat Vera Zvonareva at Dubai last February.

“I knew that it was going to be a really tough match playing against her, and I’m just happy that I was able to pull off the win and play some good tennis,” Anisimova said on court after her match.

The two power hitters were strong on return as the match began, with six of the first eight games going against serve. Anisimova grabbed the seventh break of the opening frame to lead 6-5 after a Pavlyuchenkova backhand flew wide, and the American closed out the set in the following game with a second-serve ace.

Anisimova zipped ahead 5-1 in the second set, but former World No.11 Pavlyuchenkova closed the gap, winning three games in a row to pull to 5-4. Serving for the match for the second time, Anisimova saw double match point slide back to deuce, but she set up a third match point with a forehand winner. There, Anisimova fired her sixth ace of the day to attain victory.

Anisimova is now 2-0 against Pavlyuchenkova, having also notched a straight-sets win in their previous meeting at Indian Wells in 2018.

Anisimova will next take on No.5 seed Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the second round, which will be their first career meeting. Bouzkova edged Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 earlier on Monday.

Highlights: Bouzkova def. Frech

In other first-round results from Monday, No.3 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine beat American qualifier Sachia Vickery 7-5, 6-4, and No.4 seed Emma Navarro of the United States defeated Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Also on Monday, No.6 seed Wang Xinyu beat Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 7-5. In the second round, she will face her fellow Chinese player Wang Xiyu, who squeaked past Jaqueline Cristian 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(3).

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