(January 21, 2022) No. 60 Amanda Anisimova saved a pair of match points to rally past defending champion and 13th seed 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 serving at 4-5 in the deciding set.
Anisimova in 2019 was devastated by the loss of her father. It saw her ranking fall from a career high 21 to the 90s.
Anisimova hit 46 winners, to Osaka’s 21. Anisimova committed 44 unforced errors to the Osaka’s 45.
“Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” Anisimova said in her on court interview.
“Naomi is always going to be playing well. She’s an absolute champion, so I knew that I really had to step up my game and try to be aggressive.
“I think that’s what I started doing in the second set. Honestly, I am grateful that I was able to play so well today and get this win. It means a lot.”
“I thought she played really well,” Osaka told reporters during her news conference.
“For me, I thought it was a pretty 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 if I’m going to have regrets about those two match points, ” said the woman who represents Japan. “Like, I thought she played really well. But I can’t really look in the past anymore, you know?”
Osaka took a mental health break for a few months off the tour after withdrawing from the French Open in the second round.
“I can’t win every match. So I just have to, like, take that into account,” Osaka said. “I feel like I grew a lot in this match. The last match that I played in New York I think I had a completely different attitude, so I’m really happy with — you know, of course I lost, but I’m happy with how it went.”
The win for the American broke up a highly anticipated showdown in the fourth round that would have pitted Osaka against Ash Barty, the world No. 1. Now Anisimova will face off against the top player.
“Stepping onto the court, all I’m thinking about is just having fun,” said Anisimova.
“Every single day here is an amazing opportunity and experience for me. I’m so grateful to be just playing on this court, so I’m just having fun.”
“I just want to soak in this moment,” said Anisimova. “It was an amazing match. It was very close. You know, there were a bit of nerves, and to play Naomi for the first time … it’s unreal, honestly.”