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Act I: Amanda Anisimova ousts reigning Aussie Open champ Naomi Osaka after erasing two match points


Naomi Osaka vs. Amanda Anisimova: a first-time meeting with lots of hype. By the end, expectations were more than exceeded.


Both players entered the third-round clash undefeated in 2022, though Osaka carried the extra weight of being the defending champion. Still, a break to start the match was all she needed to ride out a 6-4 lead.


Anisimova kept swinging and began applying more pressure on Osaka’s serve. A scorching backhand off an eight-shot rally saw the 20-year-old move ahead 3-1 in set two and she too, would protect the lone break advantage in forcing a decider.


The two felt the tension early in the third set, Anisimova hitting two double faults over three points to fall behind 30-40 at 0-1 and Osaka donating a double of her own to face a second break point at 1-1. Disaster was averted in both situations.


Serving at 4-5, Anisimova faced two separate match points at 30-40 and ad-out after making unforced errors. But Osaka wasn’t able to find the court on either opportunity with miscues of her own, and Anisimova unleashed a 108 m.p.h. ace up the T to hold.


By the time the decisive tiebreaker arrived, a 10-pointer here, Anisimova took control. Osaka pulled to 4-5, but from there, her unseeded opponent had the steadier hand in winning five of the final six points, punctuated with her 11th ace.


At their last respective major, Osaka and Anisimova each endured heartbreaking US Open exits. Anisimova failed to convert a match point in falling to Karolina Pliskova in yet another final-set tiebreaker (standard to 7, win by 2), while Osaka served for her third-rounder with Leylah Fernandez at 6-5 in the second set, only to see it slip away.


 

Anisimova advances to face world No. 1 Ash Barty in the round of 16. The Australian notably beat her in the semifinals of the 2019 French Open after Anisimova began that match with a bagel.