PARIS — Amanda Anisimova knocked Naomi Osaka out of one other Grand Slam event on Monday, defeating her, 7-5, 6-4, in the first spherical of the French Open.
Anisimova, a 20-year-old American with an influence recreation that bears a sure resemblance to Osaka’s, needed to save two match factors earlier than defeating Osaka in a three-set thriller in the third spherical of this yr’s Australian Open.
But Anisimova was way more environment friendly on Monday, cracking sometimes below Osaka’s weight of shot and the weight of the second however in the end navigating the crucial phases of the match with aplomb.
She served out the first set at love, placing three winners, after which served out the match, ending off Osaka on her third match level with a cocksure backhand winner down the line that Osaka had no likelihood to achieve.
“When you see Naomi Osaka in the first round, you don’t think it’s going to be easy,” Anisimova stated. “A very tough match, and going out there I knew I had to play good tennis, and the conditions weren’t easy.”
Viewed objectively, this was no upset. Osaka, a former No. 1 from Japan, is considered one of the greatest stars in sports activities and the highest paid feminine athlete in the world by a big margin. But she has not been a dominant pressure on tour for nicely over a yr now and has by no means been a dominant pressure on the French Open’s clay-court floor.
All 4 of Osaka’s Grand Slam singles titles have been gained on hardcourts: two at the Australian Open and two at the United States Open. She has by no means reached even the ultimate of a clay-court occasion on tour and has by no means been previous the third spherical of the French Open.
She arrived in Paris this yr unseeded and having performed simply two singles matches on clay all yr after withdrawing from the Italian Open earlier this month due to a left Achilles’ tendon damage.
Her decrease left ankle was taped on Monday for the rematch with Anisimova, the No. 27 seed, who as the greater ranked participant, walked on the Suzanne Lenglen Court after her opponent.
The ballstriking was ferocious from the opening level. Though circumstances have been humid and heavy on the clay, Anisimova and Osaka each have the punching energy to hit winners in any circumstances. But Anisimova, tall and with a style for danger, has had much more success at Roland Garros up to now than Osaka. As a 17-year-old, Anisimova reached the semifinals in 2019 earlier than shedding to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.