Teen queens soar in Paris

 - Alex Sharp

Anisimova, Swiatek and Vondrousova are making a strong case for the WTA's teenage generation.

Amanda Anisimova Roland Garros 2019©Julien Crosnier / FFT

"I think it's just the Next Gen on the rise. There are a lot of great players close to my age that are doing really well, so it's good to see."

Amanda Anisimova is aware she is an integral part of the teens tearing through the draw at Roland-Garros.

The elite of the women’s game has an astounding strength in depth, but that established guard is under real threat from the generations below eager to obtain their own Grand Slam silverware success.

Take Naomi Osaka, the world No.1 is only 21 and has clinched the past two majors. Bianca Andreescu, 18, stormed through the pack for the Indian Wells title this year.

The signs have been coming for a while and now a trio of supremely talented, fearless and vivacious teenagers are shooting into prominence in Paris.

Anisimova, reigning junior Wimbledon champion Iga Swiatek and world No.38 Marketa Vondrousova remain well within the mix.

America's next big hope

For Anisimova, the 17-year-old appears to be taking it all in her stride, relaxing with Eiffel Tower picnics with fellow youngster Priscilla Hon.

Remember the world No.51 has risen to this stage before. In January she rocketed past Aryna Sabalenka en route to the Australian Open fourth round.

Anisimova is now replicating such exploits at the French Open, dismantling 11th seed Sabalenka again 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday.

The “huge confidence booster” of a maiden WTA title on the clay in Bogota back in April provided the platform to shine in Paris and the draw is opening up for the teenager.

Anisimova’s accomplished game will face Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round today and won’t face a higher-ranked player until at least the quarter-finals if she advances.

With every victory Anisimova rewrites history; currently she is the youngest American woman to get this far at Roland-Garros since Serena Williams in 1999.

"I mean, she's done so much for the sport. She's a huge inspiration to me. I really look up to her. That's just great to be achieving stuff similar to her," added Anisimova.

"Actually, when I had a tough loss at Miami Open, it was a really long match and I was super upset in the locker room, Serena actually came up to me and we shared a little bit of a chat. That was really nice of her, and I'll remember it forever."

Perhaps their next meeting will be on court.

Goodbye Aga, Welcome, Iga

For Poland’s Swiatek, returning to Paris provides plenty of inspiration.

Last year the world No.104 scooped the girls’ doubles title alongside Caty McNally and 12 months on she is turning heads once again on the terre battue.

The teenager unwrapped an early birthday present on Thursday by casting aside 16th seed Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-0 to book a maiden major third round.

Swiatek, who turned 18 yesterday, can look forward to a tussle with Olympic champion Monica Puig for a ticket into the second week. Now that would truly mark her transformation from the juniors to the pro level.

“I felt confident in juniors. I didn't know if I'm going to go there [the WTA level] fast or need some time. But I'm really happy that everything is working out,” said Swiatek. “Obviously when I was playing here last year’s juniors, I didn't know that I'm going to play in main draw and be in third round. So it's amazing and I'm really happy.”

The Polish prodigy, bringing hope to her nation following the retirement of her countrywoman Agnieszka Radwanska, is playing freely, not daunted by the prospect of facing the top players.

"I don't have any expectations and that's kind of cool because I'm not stressed or anything. I don't expect to win because I'm new here,” continued the world No.104, highlighting her ability to play with clarity and composure.

“Maybe more about the confidence or the peace of mind sometimes and being able to focus. I think going from juniors to senior, I guess I wasn't that stressed. I just felt that I knew here I don't have to win anything, so that's why I could play my best. It was quite normal to me just to go to another level. I've done that all my life, so why would that be different?”

Another Czech rises

Over to Vondrousova who is eldest of the teenage triumvirate, ok she’s only 19.

The recent conveyer belt of Czech tennis stars has produced yet another top-draw talent. Vondrousova is an enthralling watch, with her hooked, lefty spins and a devious drop shot in her artillery.

2019 has been simply sensational for the world No.38, reaching the quarter-finals or better in her past five events. Within that time, she’s defeated Halep twice and significantly for Paris, posted a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory back on the red clay of Rome against the Romanian ex-world No.1.

Vondrousova blasted 22 winners past Yafan Wang in the Roland-Garros first round, then scorched through 11 successive games to prevail past Anastasia Potapova in round two.

From a break down on Friday she rallied to send clay specialist Carla Suarez Navarro out 6-4, 6-4 to accumulate a 25th match win of the season.

We are going to be treated in the last 16 as Vondrousova is drawn to face the variety of Anastasija Sevastova, who saved five match points in a pulsating encounter with Elise Mertens.

Anisimova, Swiatek and Vondrousova, you sense these names will soon transform from Grand Slam pretenders to contenders.

Market Vondrousova third round Roland Garros 2019©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT