ASB Classic comeback kids: Emma Raducanu and Amanda Anisimova win after long layoffs

Raducanu and Anisimova were out of tennis for the majority of 2023
Dave Rowland/GettyImages

2021 US Open Champion Emma Raducanu and American Amanda Anisimova scored big first-round victories at the 2024 ASB Classic after being out of tennis for most of 2023.

Raducanu, 21, showed greatness and a little rustiness in her three-set win. Fans are happy to see a "reborn," smiling, and healthy Raducanu on the tennis court because she had three surgeries in 2023.

A straight-set winner, Anisimova, 22, took a break from tennis for mental health reasons and intentionally slowed down her life in 2023. Anisimova has been honest about the rigors of professional tennis, losing tournaments, traveling, training, and all of the pressure that goes with it.

Emma Raducanu and Amanda Anisimova are part of the young contingent on the WTA Tour

Raducanu will be immortalized as the first qualifier in the modern era to win a Grand Slam. She may need to do it again if she does not get a wildcard for the 2024 Australian Open. Raducanu could still make the main draw if one more player withdraws from the tournament.

Anisimova was a 2019 French Open semifinalist (losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty) and in October 2019 achieved her highest career ranking of World No. 21.

With their first-round victories, both are into the Round of 16 and on a collision course to meet in the quarterfinals should both advance. Raducanu will face Elina Svitolina and Anisimova faces Marie Bouzkova in the Round of 16.

There are a lot of tennis fans focused on Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, and Elena Rybakina for good reason. All are 25 or younger and have competed at the highest level over the past two years. Both Raducanu and Anisimova could enter the conversation this year along with Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 21, who concluded the 2023 season with an outstanding performance at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Read more from Lob and Smash