Defending champion Naomi Osaka was happy with her battling attitude even in defeat and said she shouldn’t be expecting to win every match. “I’m not God. I can’t win every match,” the 24-year-old said.
The 20-year-old Anisimova saved two match points before handing Osaka a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) defeat in high-octane third-round clash on Friday.
“I fought for every point. I can’t be sad about that,” said Osaka after the match. “So I just have to take that into account and know that it would be nice to win the tournament.
“But that’s really special, you know, and I can’t think of myself to try to win the Grand Slam at the start of the year every time.”
Anisimova, who had taken out Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in the second round, scored one of the biggest wins of her young career.
Giant slayer ⚔️
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2022
After losing the first set, Anisimova knew she needed to get more aggressive or she would be out of the tournament.
The American, ranked 60 in the world, saved two match points in the third set, serving to stay in the match, and ended it with an ace.
She hit 46 winners to Osaka’s 21.
After winning the title last year — Osaka’s second at Melbourne Park in three years — the Japanese withdrew from the French Open in the second round and skipped Wimbledon as she took a break for her mental health.
After an early loss at the US Open, she took an extended layoff to reset and arrived at the year’s first major with a seeding of No. 13.
“I just want to go into this year knowing that…I’ll have the greatest attitude ever,” said Osaka after the match.
“I’ll fight for every point. Even if I win or lose, I’ll go off the court knowing I tried the hardest that I could, and there is no way anyone can expect anything more from me.”
Ash Barty, meanwhile, advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over 30th-seeded Camila Giorgi on Rod Laver Arena.
Barty has only conceded eight games and spent less than three hours on court in the first three rounds at Melbourne Park.
The Wimbledon champion and 2019 French Open winner is aiming to be the first Australian woman to win her home championship since 1978.