Anisimova beats Martincova to advance to second round of National Bank Open

Amanda Anisimova serves the ball. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

With a few consecutive wins under her belt, Amanda Anisimova feels like she's hitting her stride at the National Bank Open.

The 19-year-old American advanced to the second round of the women's tournament in Montreal on Monday after her opponent, Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic, retired with Anisimova leading 6-1, 4-3.

Anisimova said she feels like she is in a groove after advancing to the main draw in Montreal through the qualifying tournament.

"I think it was good that I got a couple matches in (qualifiers),'' she said. "I have a couple matches to back me up and give me some confidence in the main draw.''

Wins have been hard to come by recently for Anisimova, who entered Montreal with a 9-11 record on the year.

She was a breakout star in 2019, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 21 on the WTA Tour. She had her greatest success on clay with a win at the Copa Colsanitas in Colombia and a run to the semifinal of the French Open.

Following the death of her father, who was also her coach, Anisimova withdrew from the 2019 US Open, and only played two more events that year. In the following years, back and ankle injuries have taken their toll. Anisimova entered the National Bank Open ranked 86th.

She hopes to put those injury troubles behind her.

"I have a good fitness coach now,'' she said. "I've been working with Rob Brandsma. I think that's been going so well for me.

"I feel better and I feel stronger. Hopefully I can just build on that this year. I'm looking forward to this season and U.S. Open.''

In an early match at centre court, Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic convincingly defeated world No. 29 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-1, 6-3.

Siniakova converted seven of 10 break-point chances against Ostapenko, who did herself no favours hitting into six double faults.

That match was played in front of a crowd, as Tennis Canada is allowing 5,000 fans for each of the day and night sessions at centre court in Montreal, and 4,500 per session in Toronto.

In other matches in Montreal, 11th-seed Maria Sakkari of Greece advanced when Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic retired. Sakkari was up 6-4, 3-1 at the time.

"Well, you know, it was a little bit — it was shocking when I walked on the court and there was a crowd,'' Sakkari said. "I haven't seen that since Roland Garros. That was a very nice thing.''

France's Oceane Dodin upset 14th seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, and 13th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia downed Clara Burel of France 6-1,

Romania's Sorana Cirstea beat American Alison Riske; Nadia Podoroska of Argentina beat Magda Linette of Poland; Spain's Paula Badosa downed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia advanced when opponent Fiona Ferro of France retired.

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Rebecca Marino of Vancouver were scheduled to play in the evening session.

In the men's tournament in Toronto, Marin Cilic of Croatia fired 13 aces in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas, while Ugo Humbert of France beat Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-3, 6-4.

Italy's Fabio Fognini beat Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets, while Australian qualifier James Duckworth downed Taylor Fritz of the United States in straight sets.

Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., and Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil were scheduled to play later Monday.

In doubles action, Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexis Galarneau of Laval, Que., fell 6-4, 7-6 (6) to Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.

"I thought we played a good match, to be honest,'' Auger-Aliassime said. "You know, they played good in the first set. We did small mistakes.

"Then the second set it was really unlucky. We missed some crazy shots in the tiebreak that we shouldn't have, but that's how it goes. It happens.''

Auger-Aliassime will play his first singles match Wednesday after getting a first-round bye.

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