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Anisimova fights off nerves to win battle of U.S. teens in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amanda Anisimova has confessed that she was a bundle of nerves after staring down the barrel of an early exit from the U.S. Open during her second-round battle against fellow American teenager Katrina Scott on Thursday.

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Anisimova, 19, beat her 16-year-old compatriot 4-6 6-4 6-1 to advance to the third round, but struggled to contend with Scott’s high-octane brand of tennis in the opening exchanges.

“I was definitely very nervous,” Anisimova told reporters. “She just kept making unbelievable shots.

“I’ve had so many matches where I’m down, and then I start freaking out. It takes a lot of experience to become good at it because it’s so easy in tennis to have a mental breakdown and lose the match. I was really scared of that happening.”

Scott, who is ranked 637th in the world and made her Grand Slam main draw debut against Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva in Tuesday’s first round, was in cruise control until Anisimova sparked into life with the score tied at 4-4 in the second set.

“I’m very surprised with how she was playing,” added Anisimova, the 22nd seed. “She was serving so big ... I was very impressed with her game.

“I was just fighting the whole time.”

The empty stands around Louis Armstrong Stadium only added to Anisimova’s misery.

“I can’t believe this is the U.S. Open, where is everybody?” said the 2017 junior champion. “It’s definitely a huge bummer, I’m not going to lie and pretend like it’s not.

“It is really upsetting. It does cross my mind a lot that there’s nobody here to cheer you on.”

Anisimova, who reached the French Open semi-finals last year, faces Maria Sakkari of Greece in the next round.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

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