Australian Open: Naomi Osaka out to Amanda Anisimova, Ashleigh Barty wins in Melbourne

Melbourne (Agencies): 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.
Japan’s Osaka, 24, was beaten 4-6 6-3 7-6 (10-5) at Melbourne Park.
Unseeded Anisimova, 20, will play Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty in the last 16. Barty has still not dropped a set this week after a 6-2 6-3 victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.
The 25-year-old Queenslander is carrying the hopes of a nation desperate to see a home Australian Open champion for the first time since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Most expected Barty to face Osaka in the last 16 when the draw pitted two of the game’s biggest stars in the same section.
Osaka was seeded 13th after taking a four-month break at the end of last season, during which she revealed she had been suffering from depression.
The two-time champion, who also won the 2019 title at Melbourne Park, had also breezed through her opening two matches but faced a different proposition in Anisimova.
The American announced her arrival as a potential star when she reached the 2019 French Open semi-finals aged 17.
But the death of her father and coach Konstantin shortly before the US Open later that year understandably had a debilitating effect on her career.
Against Osaka, the world number 60 showed on the biggest stage that she has rediscovered her best form and was able to effectively use her power.
Anisimova also showed her ability to stay calm under pressure, saving the two match points at 5-4 in the deciding set when her depth from the baseline forced two backhand errors by Osaka. “Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance,” said Anisimova, who lifted the Melbourne Summer Set Two title earlier this month and has now won all eight of her matches in 2022.
“She is an absolute champion so I knew I would have to step up my game and be aggressive. “I’m honestly so grateful that I was able to play so well today and get this win. It means a lot.”
Barty breezes through with ‘clean’ performance
Now Anisimova will look to trouble the very best when she faces Barty. The Australian has topped the world rankings for 112 weeks, winning five WTA titles last season and starting 2022 by adding another in Adelaide.
But she has come up short in each of the past three years at Melbourne Park, having reached the 2020 semi-finals in between quarter-final defeats in 2019 and 2021.
Tougher moments are sure to lie ahead over the rest of this tournament, potentially against Anisimova on Sunday. But so far, she has been untroubled in three emphatic victories across which she has dropped only eight games.
“I thought tonight was really clean, I looked after my service games really well, was able to keep my momentum going. A pretty good performance,” Barty said after beating 30th seed Giorgi. “I felt like I was out of my weight class, the way she hits the ball is incredible. I was able to use my slice effectively, particularly that short one.”

Nadal beats
Khachanov in four sets to reach last 16
Rafael Nadal continued his pursuit of a record-breaking 21st major title by beating Karen Khachanov in four sets to reach the Australian Open fourth round. Nadal, the 2009 champion and five-time finalist, defeated Russian 28th seed Khachanov 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 in Melbourne.
The Spanish sixth seed faces Russia’s 18th seed Aslan Karatsev or France’s Adrian Mannarino in the last 16. German third seed Alexander Zverev and Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini both also reached the fourth round. Berrettini overcame Spanish prospect Carlos Alcaraz in an enthralling five-set battle, after the Spanish 18-year-old – the youngest man in the draw – fought back from two sets down.
But Berrettini held his nerve to win the deciding tie-break 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 2-6 7-6 (10-5) at the Rod Laver Arena. Zverev had a more straightforward passage into the last 16, seeing off Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Nadal sensing big opportunity
Nadal insisted he was not feeling any pressure ahead of his meeting with Olympic silver medallist Khachanov on the main stage. The 35-year-old is the only former Melbourne champion remaining in the men’s draw – although his sole Australian Open title came 13 years ago.
With the absence of fellow 20-time major winners Novak Djokovic, deported over his vaccine exemption, and Switzerland’s Federer, who is recovering from injury, this tournament offers Nadal a major opportunity.
Having won the Melbourne Summer Set in the build-up to the tournament, he has made a flying start on his Grand Slam return following a five-month layoff due to a foot injury and is yet to drop a set after three matches.
The Spaniard raced 3-0 ahead and dropped only one point on his serve in a devastating opening set.
He carried that momentum into the second set, breaking Khachanov in the opening game. It was not all plain sailing – the Russian creating a break opportunity when trailing 2-1 – but the imperious Nadal responded by winning three consecutive games. Khachanov battled on admirably, however, and saved a break point early in the third set before breaking Nadal for the first time, from 40-0 down, for a 3-1 lead.
The Russian survived three break points in the following game and although he was unable to clinch three of his own when 4-1 up, it did not prove costly as he forced a fourth set. The set-back brought a determined reaction from Nadal, who sealed a double-break with a ferocious cross-court forehand before serving out the match.
‘Alcaraz is unbelievable’
Wimbledon finalist Berrettini looked in control for the first set and most of the second before Alcaraz grew in confidence, breaking back and taking it to a tie-break that he lost.
But the young Spaniard clinched the third set before storming through the fourth to set up a decisive finale.
Berrettini turned his ankle early in the set and needed treatment, but the 25-year-old Italian dug in to fend off a break point and then brought up match point at 6-5.
Alcaraz, who beat Berrettini at the Erste Bank Open in Austria last year, saved the point with a fizzing second serve and battled back to hold and force the tie-break.
However, it was the more experienced Berrettini who edged ahead and did not let up in the first-to-10 decider, winning a match that lasted more than four hours.
“He is unbelievable,” said Berrettini of his teenage opponent. “He is impressive and will only improve playing matches like this, he has shown everyone his potential. Luckily today I won.”
Berrettini’s next opponent is Spanish 19th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated another rising star, American Sebastian Korda, 6-4 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-3.
Zverev will meet Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov, who beat American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Meanwhile, French 17th seed Gael Monfils overcame Chile’s 16th seed Cristian Garin 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-3. He will play Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, who knocked out Italian 25th seed Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-5.
Azarenka beats Elina Svitolina to reach last 16
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka brushed aside Elina Svitolina to reach the Australian Open fourth round for the first time since 2016. The Belarusian world number 25, champion in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, won 6-0 6-2 against the Ukrainian 15th seed. Azarenka will now play French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Czech Krejcikova, seeded fourth, came from behind to beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 2-6 6-4 6-4. Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty is in action against Italy’s Camila Giorgi from 08:00 GMT on Friday. Defending champion Naomi Osaka also features in the night session at Melbourne Park, taking on American Amanda Anisimova.
Elsewhere, Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari recorded a 6-4 6-1 victory over Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova and will now play American Jessica Pegula. Spanish eighth seed Paula Badosa overcame Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk in three sets, prevailing 6-2 5-7 6-4.
Next for Badosa is American Madison Keys, who survived a final-set tie-break to get past Wang Qiang, 4-6 6-3 7-6 (10-2).
Azarenka trying to stay ‘in the moment’
Azarenka needed just one hour and seven minutes on Rod Laver Arena to end former world number four Svitolina’s challenge.
The 32-year-old, seeded 24th, made her intentions clear with a break of serve in the opening game and dominated from there, eventually converting her sixth match point.
After reaching at least the fourth round in Melbourne in eight consecutive years between 2009 and 2016, she only played the tournament twice between 2017 and 2021, losing in the first round in 2019 and last year. She was absent in 2017 after the birth of her son, Leo, missed 2018 because of a custody battle and did not enter the 2020 event for personal reasons.
The former world number one, who was joined by Leo in her post-match news conference, said: “When you look in the past, which I don’t like to do, your memory is a bit distorted. Maybe you want to remember something, you want to forget the other
“I try to take it day by day. That mentality, to stay in the present, continue to do what I can in the moment. “That’s really what I’m trying to say – that ladder I want to climb step by step. I think the danger is to try to skip a few steps. That’s something I’m actually learning not to do. That’s been helpful.”