(21 January 2022) No. 60 Amanda Anisimova saved a few game points to get past the defending champion and 13th seeded Naomi Osaka 4-6 6-3 7-6[10-5] to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday. The 20-year-old American saved match points that served at 4-5 in the deciding set.
Anisimova was devastated in 2019 by the loss of her father. It saw her rankings drop from a career high of 21 to the 90s.
Anisimova beat 46 winners, up to Osaka’s 21. Anisimova made 44 unforced errors against Osaka’s 45.
“When I entered this match, I knew I had to play sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” Anisimova said in her court interview.
“Naomi will always play well. She’s an absolute champion, so I knew I really needed to sharpen my game and try to be aggressive.
“I think that is what I started doing in the second set. Honestly, I am thankful that I was able to play so well today and achieve this victory. It means a lot. ”
“I thought she played very well,” Osaka told reporters during her news conference.
“For me, I thought it was a fairly high-level match. I think the pace of her ball surprised me, but other than that it was fun to play. “
“I’m not sure I’m going to regret those two match points,” said the woman representing Japan. “Like, I thought she played very well. But I can not really look at the past anymore, you know? ”
Osaka took a breather for mental health for a few months off the tour after withdrawing from the French Open in the second round.
“I can not win every game. So I just have to take that into account, ”said Osaka. “I feel I have grown a lot in this game. “The last game I played in New York, I think I had a completely different attitude, so I’m very happy with that – you know, of course I lost, but I’m happy with how it went.”
The victory for the American broke down a highly anticipated showdown in the fourth round that Osaka could pick up against Ash Barty, the world number 1. Now Anisimova will take on the top player.
“All I think about walking on the track is just having fun,” said Anisimova.
“Every day here is a wonderful opportunity and experience for me. I’m so grateful to just play on this track, so I’m just having fun. ”
“I just want to enjoy in this moment,” Anisimova said. “It was a wonderful match. It was very close. You know, there were some nerves, and to play Naomi for the first time… it’s unreal, honestly. ”