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Anisimova upsets defending champion Osaka at Australian Open

MELBOURNE (AP) -- Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open's defending champion, had lost her third round match within an hour.

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Anisimova upsets defending champion Osaka at Australian Open

It is part of her 2022 resolution. It's not worth dwelling on the past.

Osaka was awarded two match points in Friday's third set against Amanda Anisimova, who is 60th in the rankings. She also missed two backhands.

Anisimova won serve by holding serve and forced a tiebreaker. She won the tiebreaker with an ace, winning a 4-6 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over the four-time major champion.

In doing so, the 20-year-old American ensured that the so-called final-before-the-final -- a much-anticipated fourth-round showdown between Osaka and top-ranked Ash Barty -- won't happen.

Osaka stated that she was not certain if she will have regrets over the two match points. "Like, she played really well. You know, I can't look back in the past.

"Like I just need to focus on the future to hopefully avoid those situations."

Anisimova had lost nine of her matches against top-20 players. She had to bounce back from a set, a breakdown, and win her first round match. Osaka won with 46 wins.

Osaka, who is one of the strongest hitters in women's draw, was kind enough to praise Anisimova for her service returns. She also described how the ball kept coming at her so low that her footwork couldn't keep up with it.

Anisimova said, "I just want the moment to be absorbed," after she defeated Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. It was an incredible match. It was close. It was close.

Anisimova won her WTA hardcourt title in a tuneup tournament held in Melbourne earlier this month. She is currently on an eight-match winning streak, the longest in her career in main draws matches.

This is Osaka's fourth defeat and her 11th in 21 Grand Slam events. She was eliminated in the third round at the U.S. Open last year.

Osaka won the title last year at Melbourne Park, her second in three years. She then withdrew in the second round of the French Open and skipped Wimbledon for mental health reasons. Osaka was devastated at losing at the U.S. Open and took a long break to regroup before she arrived at the first major of the year with a seeding at No. 13. She also brought a fresh approach to the game, vowing that she would enjoy it more and not cry at any news conference. She has spent more time with her family and friends, and she's been meditating and keeping a journal listing all the things she is grateful for.

"I cannot win every match. Osaka stated that it was impossible to win every match. "I felt like I learned a lot from this match. I felt completely different in my match with New York. I'm very happy with it.

Barty hopes to be the first Australian woman to win this championship since 1978.

With a 6-2,6-3 win over Camila Giorgi (30th), she advanced to the fourth round. She has conceded only eight games and spent less that three hours on the court.

Barty's career break to play professional cricket a few years ago was a great thing. She won the 2019 French Open Grand Slam title, beating Anisimova in semifinals.

She didn't let the hype about the fourth round affect her planning.

"Every match is unpredictable. Barty stated that you just need to make your way through each match as well as possible at the given moment. "I think I've done a great job of that this week. It's thrilling to be able to play Amanda again.

Victoria Azarenka is the last woman to win an Australian Open singles title. Osaka's defeat means Victoria Azarenka is out. To reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park, she defeated 15th-seeded Elina Stvitolina 6-0 and 6-2. This is her first win since 2016.

At a news conference, she had her five-year old son with her. Leo, who was wearing his sunglasses and sat on his mother's knees, described Leo's two-time champion's physique as "Awesome!"

Next up, the 2012 and 2013 French Open champion Barbora Krajcikova will play. She rallied from a set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 26th, 2-6, 6-6, 6-4 and 6-4.

Azarenka has lost all three quarterfinal matches in Australia since 2016, and was eliminated from the hard-court tournaments in 2017 and 2018.

The fourth round pairings were also set up on Friday, with fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari facing 21st-seeded Jessica Pegula. 8 Paula Badosa versus Madison Keys who defeated Wang Qiang 4-6 6-3 7-6 (2) on Friday.

Rafael Nadal won the Day 5 Rod Laver Arena match against Olympic silver medalist Karen Khachanov, 6-3, 2-6, 3-6 and 6-1, continuing his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam title for men.

Alexander Zverev, Olympic gold medalist, won 6-3,6-4,6-4 victory over Radu Albot (a qualifier from Moldova ranked 124th). Zverev, who is third in the rankings, will play No. 14 Denis Shapovalov beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (4). He was 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4.

Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini defeated 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 6-2, 7-6 (3). 4-6, 2-6. 7-6 (5)

Miomir Kecmanovic made the most of Novak Djokovic's absence, making it to the fourth round of a major with a 6-4, 6-7 (8) and 6-2 wins over Lorenzo Sonego.

Next, he will play Gael Monfils (17th seed), who defeated No. 16 Cristian Garin 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-3.

Kecmanovic was drawn to play Djokovic (a top-ranked player and nine-time Australian Open champion) in the first round. Djokovic was expelled on the final day of the tournament after he failed to comply with Australia's COVID-19 regulations.

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