Amanda Anisimova posted the upset of the tournament in the evening session on day five of the 2022 Australian Open by knocking out defending titlist, and the 13th seed, Naomi Osaka in the third round. The American won 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and 15 minutes.
As had been her wont this time at Melbourne Park, Osaka gained in the scoreboard in the opening set. Anisimova went down a break in the opening game of the set and that was enough for the Japanese to see it through in the 10th game.
From the second set onwards, Osaka’s game started misfiring and errors creeping into it. The loss of the opening set seemed to have settled Anisimova and she was able to find more range on her shots while drawing out the errors from her opponent.
Although her serve did come under pressure on a couple of occasions in the set, she was quickly able to stifle any opportunity Osaka thought she could generate for herself. The 19-year-old levelled the match at a set-all after serving out the set in the ninth game.
Australian Open: Ashleigh Barty nudges aside Camila Giorgi
This push-and-pull between the two, however, extended into the third set as well. Of the two players, it was Osaka whose service games came under repeated pressure although the former world no.
1 held her ground to stave off the break points she faced. In the 10th game of the set, on Anisimova’s serve, Osaka had two match points but unforced errors on both occasions put paid to any hopes she’d had. The ensuing 10-point tie-break only added to Osaka’s woes.
Anisimova went for her shots, hitting winners for herself while Osaka’s shots either found the net or went long or wide. Anisimova hit 46 winners while Osaka had a paltry 21 winners. Only one unforced error separated the two, Osaka had 45 to Anisimova’s 44.
Tactically, while both players played their hearts out from the back of the court, Osaka’s reluctance to foray into the net took away the momentum from her. Likewise, Anisimova was able to push Osaka wide on the tramlines and then use the open court to her advantage.
Anisimova, who’s reached the second week of a Major for the first time since 2019, will now play world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the round-of-16. The Australian had a relatively easier encounter against 30th seed Camila Giorgi, winning 6-2, 6-3 in 61 minutes.
Barty faced only four break points in the match, all of which came in the seventh game of the opening set. Including this match, the Australian’s not dropped her serve in 52 games in a row. Madison Keys filled the last spot in the pre-quarter-finals in the top half of the 2022 Australian Open. The American came from a set down to beat Qiang Wang 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2). She’ll play Paula Badosa next.