American World No. 78 Amanda Anisimova won her second-ever WTA title and her first since 2019 at the Melbourne Summer Set 2.
The 20-year-old capped off a great week by defeating Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes to become the tournament’s inaugural champion.
It’s a sparkling start to the new year for Anisimova who endured a challenging previous two years due to personal issues and the coronavirus pandemic.
The former World No. 21 reached the semis at Roland Garros in 2019 before her recent struggles started.
Anisimova clawed her way back from 2-4 down in the opening set and 0-3 in the final set to clinch a memorable victory on Rod Laver Arena.
“I want to thank Melbourne, I always love playing here and I’m super excited for a couple more amazing weeks here,” Anisimova said on-court after the win.
“Tennis can be a really difficult journey at times but I’m so happy and grateful to have the people in my life I have.
“Last year was difficult and they (mum and sister) stood by me all the way. It’s so good to start the year in such a good place, I’m super grateful.”
The match was an extremely tight contest, with Sasnovich actually winning one more point (92) than Anisimova (91). However, it was the American who came up big when it mattered in the final set.
Speaking post-match, Anisimova was thrilled to start her season off on a positive note.
“To start off the year playing my first tournament with a title, it's a really amazing feeling. I'm just so happy with my title and starting off the year on a good start,” Anisimova said in her press conference.
“Hopefully, I'll have a good season and I'm really looking forward to playing in the Australian Open.”
The American will head into the Australian Open as an unseeded threat to her opponents.
Anisimova believes its always difficult as an unseeded player but is relishing the challenge after a good week in Melbourne.
“It's always difficult, I think, to go into a Grand Slam being unseeded because you can get a difficult match in the first round,” Anisimova said.
“Every match is going to be hard, honestly, and having this string of wins this week, I think that I'll go in with a lot of confidence, so that helps me a lot.
But yeah, I'm not worried. I've had a lot of good matches against top players last year, so I feel like everyone knows that I can play very good tennis, but it was just not as consistent as I hoped for last year.”
The American isn’t scheduled to play at the Adelaide international 2 or the Sydney Classic, with her next match being at the Australian Open.