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Anisimova's comeback on track as she reaches second round in Australia

Amanda Anisimova Amanda Anisimova - The Canadian Press

An extended break from tennis has already done Amanda Anisimova some good at the Australian Open, where she reached the second round of a Grand Slam event for the first time since Wimbledon in 2022.

Anisimova beat 13th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to advance in just her second tournament back.

A teenager on the rise in 2019 when she beat reigning champion Simona Halep to reach the French Open semifinals, Anisimova played her first matches since May last week in Auckland after taking a break from tennis, citing burnout.

“The most important thing is that I feel a lot more refreshed. I’m enjoying practicing. I’m enjoying every second that I’m out there,” she said. “Even when I was down today, I was still just enjoying the challenge.”

At the time she started her break last year, Anisimova said tennis had “become unbearable” and she had to prioritize her mental well-being.

That meant missing the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, following first-round exits at the 2022 U.S. Open and the 2023 Australian Open.

In her comeback in Auckland, Animisova lost 6-0, 6-1 to Marie Bouzkova in the second round after beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round.

Two wins in three matches has the 22-year-old American feeling more positive.

“I’m just happy with how I feel coming back. I feel like I was very burned out while I was playing (in early 2023), and that really wasn’t a nice feeling," she said. "Being able to just reset is really nice.”

She will next meet either Nadia Podoroska or Tamara Zidansek.

“I’m just here for the journey right now and seeing how much I can progress,” Anisimova said. “But I am happy with the wins, and I really hope that I can build on from it. I’m trying to just stay settled.”


AP tennis: