Reigning Australian Open champion Osaka was knocked out in the third round

Defending champion Naomi Osaka was stunned on Friday by unseeded Amanda Anisimova in the Australian Open, the American who set up a match in the fourth round with world setter Ashleigh Barty.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 13, won the first set at Margaret Court Arena, but the nervous Anisimova saved two match points in the third to make a huge 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10/5) upset.

Her reward is a shot at a spot in the quarterfinals against Barty, who crushed Italian 30th seeded Camila Giorgi in straight sets.

“I’m speechless, I can not stop smiling,” said the 20-year-old, who is undefeated this year after winning a preliminaries tournament in Melbourne.

“I knew I had to play sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance. Naomi will always play well, she is an absolute champion.

“So I really had to increase my game and try to be aggressive. That was what I started doing in the second set and so grateful that I could do this well today and win. It means a lot.”

The master is out!

Amanda Anisimova saves 2 match points and beats defending champion Naomi Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5) to reach the round of 16 against # 1 Ash Barty.

Anisimova nu 8-0 2022. pic.twitter.com/8eypRDHED4

– José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 21, 2022 Osaka wasted some time getting to the top of world number 60 Anisimova, broke her immediately and then worked with two break points on the American’s second serve, but failed to convert.

But Anisimova’s nerves calmed down and she began to find her reach, threatening with some sizzling ground blows, just so that Osaka’s power and precision would come to the fore.

Even though she only got 59 percent of her first serves, Osaka was on top and sealed the set with a half volley.

She faced three break points in a critical second game in set two, but kept her cool to repel them only to be broken in match four when her serve again betrayed her.

A pumped-up Anisimova took the set and beat twice as many winners as Osaka.

Both players had chances in an exciting third set without either of them giving an inch before Osaka won two match points at the position 5-4.

But Anisimova saved them both and then hit an ace to equalize to 5-5 and it went to a tie-break where she kept her nerves in snapping a nine-match losing streak against the top 20 players.

(AFP)

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