A much anticipated match-up between the first two players, male or female, born in the 2000s to make a Grand Slam singles semifinal, 23 spots separate the pair in the rankings but the encounter was anything but a close tussle.
The older Andreescu, despite playing just her fourth tournament of the year having sat out the whole 2020 to recover from injuries, was resilient as she fought off the stern challenge posed by the American to win, in two hours and 44 minutes.
No breaks of serve in opening set but Andreescu grabs tiebreak
Anisimova kicked off the match with love service hold of her own, and Andreescu followed suit with a hold to 30.
The storyline of the first set pre-tiebreak was all about Anisimova playing the big points better, the American saving a slew of break points in four of her next five service games, ten of them in total.
Andreescu, on the other hand, was the better player in taking care of service games, with just one such game in that same space going to deuce.
The Canadian ensured the tiebreak by holding serve to 15 in the eleventh game after an Anisimova backhand return landed just wide.
The tiebreak saw each player drop serve in seven of the first eight games, which left the American at a disadvantage as her opponent found herself two points away from closing it out.
A long forehand from Anisimova next gave Andreescu two set points, which the latter duly converted after putting away a volley, sealing the tiebreak 7-6(4) after 66 minutes of play.
Anisimova reciprocates by snatching second-set tiebreak
Andreescu looked to be carrying her momentum to start the second set, racing off a 2-0 lead only to buckle in the following game as she handed Anisimova the break back with a double fault.
After two routine service holds, Anisimova carved out two opportunities to break and did just that after a flat Andreescu forehand dropshot clipped the net.
A lose service game on the American’s end did not help her cause as the Canadian convincingly broke back to love, to equalise the score at four games apiece.
Four more service holds came and the set entered a tiebreak but Anisimova was determined to turn around the result of the previous as a slew of clean hitting saw the American enact a unassailable 5-1 lead.
Two points later, Anisimova lands herself two set points, where she produced a deep backhand which forced an error off the Canadian’s racket, ensuring a decider will determine the winner.
Decisive break of serve in decider goes the way of Andreescu
The final set was a different tale as Andreescu had four break opportunities, and none for her opponent, but it was that fourth one, coming in the fifth game which would hand the Canadian the lead she needs to sail to victory.
The 20-year-old’s first three break chances of the decider came in the opening game as she carved out a 0-40 opening on the Anisimova serve, all were put away by the latter en route to a service hold.
The turning point of the set, which proved to be decisive, came with Anisimova serving at 2-2 as Andreescu gave the American a last look on her serve with a break point opportunity, her 17th of the match, and an untimely backhand error off Anisimova saw the Canadian clinch her third and final service break.
Another four games ending routinely in favour the server came and by now, Andreescu was in position to serve it out, and she did so to love, constructing a one-two punch on her first match point to see off the American 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-4.
Each of the pair ended the match more double faults than aces, seven and three for Andreescu, and six and two for Anisimova, respectively.
The 19-year-old Anisimova did record a greater percentage of first serves, 70% to her opponent’s 60%, but Andreescu was the more superior in backing them up, producing a 78% success rate on points behind her first delivery, with Anisimova at a lower 64%.
Anisimova was also successful in both her break point chances, both coming the second set, while Andreescu faced a tough time in this regard, converting three of 17 (18%) such opportunities.
With 221 points played throughout the long contest, the Canadian finished with five more points won than her opponent, 113 to 108.
Andreescu’s reward in the next round is fellow Grand Slam champion, the 12th seed Garbiñe Muguruza.
The Spaniard, like Andreescu, was also taken the distance as the former saw off an inspired Anna Kalinskaya, the Russian wildcard, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
It will be the second meeting between the pair, with Andreescu notching a 6-0, 6-1 over Muguruza in the quarterfinals en route to her Indian Wells crown in 2019.