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Naomi Osaka Loses at Australian Open to Amanda Anisimova

  • January 21, 2022

“I think the pace of her ball surprised me, but other than that it was fun to play,” she said, her hands folded by her left cheek as she spoke.

“I know there are days I’m going to have bad days and days I’m going to have great days,” she added. “It’s always random, and I never know. But no matter what happens for me, I know I want to leave the court knowing that I’ve fought for every point. Today there were things I thought I could improve in, but even with that I had two match points and even with that it is something I can be proud of myself for.”

Osaka, 24, was returning to major-tournament action in Melbourne after taking an extended break from the game to rekindle her love of the sport. Her return came after an unusually emotional year in which her openness about her mental health struggles had altered the discussion of both her successes and her more recent — and painfully public — disappointments.

Osaka was seeded just 13th here but showed plenty of fire and desire in her third-round match against Anisimova: generating trademark thunder with her heavy groundstrokes and pumping her fist and shouting “Come on!” to commemorate her successes. But Anisimova, long considered one of the most promising young players in the game, held remarkably firm, coming back from an inconsistent opening set and finding her range in her first match against Osaka.

“Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” Anisimova said. “Naomi is always going to be playing well, and 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.”

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