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Champion Osaka crashes out to big-hitting American Anisimova

australian open
Defending champion Naomi Osaka is out of the Australian Open after American opponent Amanda Anisimova survived two match points before clinching a memorable third-round victory

American Amanda Anisimova, ranked 60th in the world, saved two matchpoints and smashed winners at will to beat reigning champion Naomi Osaka 4-6 6-3 7-6 (10-5) in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday.

Anisimova produced a superb display to knock out the Japanese and disappoint those who had been salivating at the prospect of a fourth-round showdown between the four-times major winner and Australian world number one Ash Barty.

Osaka, who has won all her major titles on hardcourts, had two opportunities to close out the match in the 10th game of the deciding set.

But she watched helplessly as the 20-year-old Anisimova, who has seen her ranking plummet due to injury issues, saved both and then converted her first opportunity in the deciding super tiebreak with an ace to seal the match.

The American dropped her racquet and hid her face with her palms as the crowd at the Margaret Court Arena exploded in appreciation.

Anisimova, who reached a career-high ranking of 21 in 2019, threaded 46 winners in the match, while Osaka could manage only 21.

“Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” the American said on court.

“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’m so grateful that I was able to play so well today and get this win, it means a lot.”

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