(Reuters) - Amanda Anisimova meets top seed Simona Halep in the third round of the French Open on Friday in a highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s quarter-final, which the American teenager won.
The 19-year-old, who lost in the last four to eventual winner Ash Barty after stunning the 2018 champion, had to deal with a personal tragedy shortly after her Roland Garros high with the sudden death of her father and coach Konstantin.
Anisimova, who pulled out of last year’s U.S. Open and only returned to action in January, is hoping to win her first title of the year, which she plans to dedicate to her father.
“It took a little bit of time for me to enjoy the game again,” Anisimova said earlier this year.
“Getting back on court always brings me good memories and I try to make him proud. So hopefully this year, I can win a couple of tournaments and dedicate those to him.”
Anisimova has looked in ominous form at Roland Garros so far, swatting aside both Tamara Korpatsch and Bernarda Pera in straight sets and dropping only four games in two rounds.
Halep, who has been equally impressive, said she expects a tricky test when the pair meet on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“Well, it’s one year between, so it’s going to be a little bit tough to explain now how it’s going to be,” Halep said.
“But I’m going to talk with the coach, I know it’s going to be tough because she’s hitting the ball strong and flat.
“I remember the match from last year, I remember also that I didn’t play what I wanted, so I will do some changes and I will just try to play better and to take my chance.”
In other matches, third seed Elina Svitolina faces Ekaterina Alexandrova and Kiki Bertens plays Katerina Siniakova.
Among the men, second seed Rafa Nadal continues his charge towards a record-extending 13th French Open crown and standing in his way is unseeded Italian Stefano Travaglia.
Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed, is also in action and meets another Italian in Marco Cecchinato while Swiss Stan Wawrinka takes on local hope Hugo Gaston.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis
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