Australian Open: Amanda Anisimova survives match points to beat defending champion Naomi Osaka

Amanda Anisimova will next face Ashleigh Barty after ending Naomi Osaka's title defence in the third round of the Australian Open.

Naomi Osaka in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/@naomiosaka)

Amanda Anisimova produced a major upset, beating No.13 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the third round of the Australian Open. She will next face No.1 seed Ashleigh Barty, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Italy’s Camila Giorgi. The 2-hour, 15-minute victory was the 20-year-old American’s seventh Top 20 win of her career. A fortnight ago, Anisimova displayed impressive tennis to capture her second career title at Melbourne Summer Set 2. Now, she has reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the third time. For the second time, Osaka’s Australian Open title defence has been ended by a young American in the third round following her 2020 loss at the same stage to Coco Gauff.

Earlier, Osaka got an early break in the first set and held on to capture the set. Anisimova started to read the Osaka serve better in the second set, but the defending champion managed to find a way to stay in the contest. Anisimova, however, clinched the crucial second-set break for 3-1, as she held on to make it 1-1. 

In the third set, Anisimova did well to save both match points she faced. In the ensuing super-tiebreak, the American stepped up her game, making it difficult for Osaka to play her usual game. An 11th ace sealed the victory for Anisimova.

READ MORE – Emma Raducanu knocked out by unseeded Danka Kovinic

Amanda Anisimova: Naomi Osaka is really inspiring

“I think she’s really inspiring,” said Anisimova on Osaka, who has brought athletes’ mental health issues into the spotlight over the past year. “What she’s done the last couple of years is amazing, and just how authentic she is. I think she’s just great, really fresh for the tour. I think she’s really funny and sweet. It was really cool to finally play her today.

“She just tells the truth about how she feels. She spoke about her mental health the last couple of years. I know she’s gone through a really tough year last year, so I kind of feel for her today. I know it’s not easy, especially being the defending champion, kind of feel bad. But just the way that she talks about things and how honest she is, I think that’s really inspiring. 

“To spread awareness and try to get rid of the stigma around mental health – I think that we’re in a completely different time now. This generation is becoming more honest about all these kinds of things. I think it’s great to see. I’m comfortable speaking about whatever, you know. I’ve gone through a couple of hard years, and I don’t mind posting stuff on social media and just try to spread awareness for people who are also going through tough things. I think it’s great to be relatable to other people who follow us. I think it’s a great message.”

Sportslumo Desk

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