Anisimova sees dawn of new era in women's tennis

Wuhan (China) (AFP) –


American youngster Amanda Anisimova believes Bianca Andreescu?s US Open victory is the dawn of a new era in women?s tennis, where the teens are ready to conquer.

Canadian 19-year-old Andreescu upset Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows to become the youngest female Grand Slam champion since Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2004.

Anisimova, who turned 18 less than a month ago, joins Andreescu as part of a strong generation of teenagers coming up on tour, and made a splash with her run to the Roland Garros semi-finals in June, where she upset defending champion Simona Halep en route.

The world No.29 withdrew from the US Open due to the sudden death of her father-coach Konstantin Anisimov, but watched from afar as Andreescu blasted through the draw towards the title.

"I don?t think we should be as surprised anymore [by young players winning big titles]," said Anisimova, who enjoyed a winning return following a seven-week absence from the tour by defeating Guangzhou runner-up Sam Stosur 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the Wuhan Open first round on Monday.

"I feel like there are so many upcoming players and they're all doing really well."

Anisimova, who next takes on world number two Karolina Pliskova, feels ready to make her own statement at the majors, and has her eye on next January?s Australian Open, where she hopes to do better than her fourth-round appearance there this year.

"Oh yes, for sure, I think I can do pretty well there, especially if I have a good pre-season," said the New Jersey-born player.

Anisimova had only two practice sets prior to the Wuhan Open, and was pleasantly surprised with how well she performed against Stosur on Monday.

"I?m really happy to be back... I?m just focusing on having fun this tournament. I really don?t have any expectations for myself," she said.

Meanwhile, two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova says she?s searching for a "new balance" as the Russian veteran tackles the next chapter of her two-decades-long career.

A winner via retirement over Yulia Putintseva in the opening round in Wuhan on Monday, Kuznetsova has dealt with a serious wrist injury over the past couple of seasons and, at 34, is looking to be more selective with her schedule.

"I think I over-trained my body when I was young," said Kuznetsova.

"I understand (now) I cannot train five hours a day. It?s important to maintain my desire.?

It was a good day for lucky losers in Wuhan as Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who took Victoria Azarenka?s place after the Belarusian withdrew with a shoulder injury, upset No.16 seed Donna Vekic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Sweden?s Rebecca Peterson replaced Madison Keys ?- who has a left foot problem ?- in the draw and made the second round when her opponent Camila Giorgi retired after the first set of their encounter.

Grand Slam champions Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber suffered opening-round exits to Hsieh Su-Wei and Monica Puig respectively.