WATCH: Amanda Anisimova defeats top seed Aryna Sabalenka to move into the quarterfinals in Charleston.

Amanda Anisimova sent a message to the Charleston draw on Thursday, as she came back from dropping the opening set to top seed Aryna Sabalenka to clinch a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

After posting early exits across the Sunshine Swing, Anisimova is back to her winning ways in Charleston, with emphatic victories over Sachia Vickery, Yulia Putintseva and Sabalenka on her way to her second quarterfinal of the year.

“[Sabalenka] is an amazing player and she was playing really well in the first set, so I had to dig deep and try to find a couple of more options on how to get my game going,” the No. 15 seed said in an on-court interview.

“I think it was just really simple, just playing one point at a time. Just trying to play my best tennis. I was trying to play a little defense at some moments and it helped to have a little variety in my game, which is something I’ve been working on.”


Sabalenka was in full control of the match in a tight opening set, but her serve let her down at a crucial stage in the second set and Anisimova was quick to capitalize. The American broke serve twice to send them into a decider, with Sabalenka racking up double faults toward the end of the set as Anisimova dialed up the pressure.

With her game in full flow, Anisimova raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third set. She didn’t face a break point as Sabalenka fought to stay in the match, and secured the win in just under two hours. With the victory, Anisimova improved to 3-0 against Sabalenka—the pair met twice at Grand Slams in 2019, and Anisimova thumped the Belarusian in straight sets both times.

It’s another positive sign for the 20-year-old, whose season has been full of ups and downs after Darren Cahill joined then abruptly departed from her coaching team within the first three months. The pair began working together during the off-season and were instantly successful in Australia, as Anisimova won her second career title in Melbourne—but they would later part ways after Cahill ended their partnership in Indian Wells.

Up next, she will face a fellow American when she meets the resurgent CoCo Vandeweghe, who scored a major upset No. 6 seed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. The former world No. 9, a lucky loser in Charleston, has been plagued by injuries to her hand and foot in recent years, and she’s into her first quarterfinal in almost a year.