Melbourne, Australia, Jan 21 (EFE).- The American Amanda Anisimova was confirmed as the revelation of the Australian Open after knocking out another favorite in reigning champion Naomi Osaka, 4-6, 6- 3 and 7-6(6) and will face local and world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty.
Japan’s Osaka will now be out of the top 80 positions on the WTA list, making it difficult for her to qualify for the most important tournaments of the year.
“I have no words. I can’t stop smiling, even when I play. I love it. She had to play very well because she is a champion,” an emotional Anisimova said, adding that she arrived in full condition at the first major of the season after lifting the title in Melbourne Summer Set 2.
The 20 year old shone with a tennis display with 11 aces, six out of six net points and 46 winners that confirmed the good feelings she experienced in her second-round victory against Swiss Belinda Bencic.
Anisimova, who went through a difficult 2019 and 2020 as a result of her father and mentor Konstantin Anisimov’s death, returned to the smile on the same stage that she saw her shine three years ago when she reached the round of 16.
Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka, seeded 24th, beat No. 15 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-0, 6-2 in just over an hour to become the first player to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.
“I wanted to put as much pressure as I could on her and kind of not let her come into the match. She’s an amazing fighter. I know if I give her a little room, she’s going to get back out there. That was my purpose today, and I think I executed that well,” Azarenka said after the match.
The two-time Australian Open champion struck 17 winners and committed only nine unforced errors to set up a next-round clash with the French Open champion and world No. 4 Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, who came back from a set down to beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
An aggressive Ostapenko raced to a one set lead and was 3-1 up in the second before Krejcikova clawed her way back to level the match and then go on to win it in two hours 10-minutes.
“The match was very difficult. I’m really happy that I was able to find a way how to use my chances and how to win it in the end,” the Czech said.
Fifth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece picked up an easy 6-4, 6-1 win against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova to secure her second berth in the tournament’s round of 16.
Her next round opponent will be American Jessica, who defeated Spain’s Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 7-6, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Spanish 8th seed Paula Badosa had to work hard for her fourth round berth against Ukrainian teen Marta Kostyuk.
After winning the first set and leading 4-2 in the second, Badosa went on to lose the second set and staged a comeback in the third to beat Kostyuk 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
“I think I played a very good level in the third set. I knew I had to put the best and to go to the limit against her because she was going for it, she was going for the lines. It was very tough,” the Spaniard said afterwards.
She will face Madison Keys of the United States, who came off a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 win against Wang Qiang of China. EFE