Photo: Heusi Action/Miriam JeskeAmanda Anisimova (USA)
Americans Amanda Anisimova and Sofia Sewing won contrasting quarterfinal clashes to reach the last four at the Campeonato Internacional Juvenil De Tenis De Porto Alegre on Friday.
Anisimova, last year’s runner up and the top seed for this year, has made a serene path through the draw, dropping no more than four games per match. She defeated Colombia’s Sofia Munera Sanchez in similarly routine fashion on Friday, winning 62 61 to continue her campaign in Brazil.
Ever the perfectionist, she was still keen to find areas where she could improve. "I think I started a little slow, it took me a while to get on my game,” she said. “But I'm feeling really confident and hopefully I can continue playing like this to win."
By contrast, No. 7 seed Sewing was forced to come from behind against second-seeded Amina Anshba. The Russian looked set to be on her way through to the semifinals after winning the first set for the loss of just one game, before Sewing came storming back to claim a remarkable 16 62 62 victory.
"She (Anshba) is a really good friend of mine so it is difficult to celebrate, but at the same time it makes it easier when we have so many difficult balls to call like on this match, we know we're being fair and all,” she said – a nod to the sportsmanship required at a level where players call their own lines.
“It was one of the toughest matches of the week for me also because it feels so hot and humid here - I mean, and I am from Miami, but this here is crazy!” she added.
Sewing’s victory ensures there will be at least one American in the final – she will play Elysia Bolton in the semifinals on Saturday, after Bolton defeated her compatriot, the 14th-seeded Hailey Baptiste 62 75 in the quarterfinals.
Anisimova, meanwhile, should face her toughest encounter yet when she faces another Colombian, the No. 6 seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, in the last four. Osorio Serrano defeated Anhzelika Isaeva, of Russia, 57 63 62 to reach her first Grade A semifinal, despite having felt unwell for most of the week.
In the boys’ draw, Argentina’s Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi scored a comfortable victory over young Brazilian hope Gilbert Soares Klier Junior, winning 61 62 to progress to the semifinals.
Grassi Mazzuchi will face No. 7 seed Oliver Crawford, one of three American boys who came through tricky three-setters on Friday. Crawford upset No. 2 seed Yuta Shimizu, of Japan, 64 26 64.
The top half of the draw will be an all-American affair, with No. 8 seed Trent Bryde facing third-seeded Vasil Kirkov. Both were forced to come from behind on Friday, with Bryde defeating Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida 57 63 62 and Kirkov overcoming 11th seed Gianni Ross 67(5) 75 62.
Just 48 hours now until the first Grade A champions of 2017 are crowned. The pressure is on.