While Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys were displaying the future of U.S. tennis in the US Open women’s final this weekend, two of the next-wave Americans were doing the same in the all-Florida US Open girls’ final.
No. 4-seeded 16-year-old Amanda Anisimova of Hallandale Beach overpowered unseeded 13-year-old Cori “Co Co” Gauff of Delray Beach 6-0, 6-2 in the Sunday girls’ final at the US Open.
“i’d like to thank everyone that made this tournament happen, it was an amazing couple weeks and I wouldn’t have wanted to win anywhere else,” Anisimova said.
No slouch in the power category, it didn’t matter how hard the 13-year-old Gauff hit the ball, as the taller Ansimova crunched it ever harder in the first set. Gauff was especially hurt off the Anisimova service return, as the younger American won only 30 percent of her first serve points.
Gauff hung longer in the second set, but with no apparent “Plan B,” Anisimova out-slugged her to break for a 3-1 lead. Tears of frustration gave way to a break back for Gauff when a loud airhorn sound outside the Grandstand court threw Anisimova mid-point, and Gauff won the next point to bring it back on serve 3-2. Anisimova teed off on the Gauff serve for another break up 4-2, holding then breaking for the championship.
In the end experience paid off for Anisimova, the former junior world No. 2 already ranked No. 182 on the WTA circuit. Gauff, last year’s Junior Orange Bowl winner, was playing in only her first Grand Slam junior event.
It was the third straight all-American girls’ Slam final in 2017 after the French and Wimbledon juniors. Anisimova was runner-up at last year’s French Open juniors.
Anisimova said the US Open was her last junior Slam before she concentrates primarily on WTA ranking points. Gauff at 13, No. 1 in the U.S. in her age group but No. 329 on the international ITF rankings entering the US Open, is only at the beginning of her international junior career.
In the semifinals Gauff won the final nine games to defeat Argentine’s unseeded Maria Lourdes Carle 7-5, 6-0, while Anisimova won 11 of the final 13 games to defeat Colombia’s unseeded Emiliana Arango 6-4, 6-1. Neither player had dropped a set in the tournament.
“I think it’s really, really good for American tennis,” Gauff said after the semifinals. “All-American final at Wimbledon, all-American final at Roland Garros, and now I’m glad I was able to close it out and get an all-American final here. I think that so far American tennis, especially on the women’s side, is striving right now.”
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