Paris – Amanda Anisimova on Monday defeated Naomi Osaka in another Grand Slam tournament, defeating her 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open.
Anisimova, a 20-year-old American with a power play that somewhat resembles Osaka, had to save two match points before defeating Osaka in a three-set thriller in the third round of this year’s Australian Open.
But Anisimova was much more effective on Monday, occasionally swimming under the weight of the Osaka blow and the gravity of the moment, but ultimately objected to navigating the critical stages of the match.
He played the first set with love, knocking out three winners, then scoring a match, ending Osaka with a brazen backhand winner on his third match point in a line that Osaka had no chance of reaching.
“When you see Naomi Osaka in the first round, you do not think it will be easy,” Anisimova said. “It was a very difficult match and when I got there I knew I had to play good tennis and the conditions were not easy.”
Objectively speaking, it was not annoying. Osaka, the former No. 1 from Japan, is one of the biggest sports stars and the highest paid female athlete in the world, by a wide margin. But he has not been the dominant force on tour for more than a year and has never been the dominant force on the clay pitch of the French Open.
Osaka won all four Grand Slam titles in singles on the hard courts: two at the Australian Open and two at the United States Open. He never reached the finals on clay pitch tours and never made it to the third round of the French Open.
He arrived in Paris homeless this year and has played just two units on clay throughout the year since coming out of the Italian Open earlier this month with an injury to his left Achilles tendon.
His lower left ankle was spotted on Monday for Anisimova’s rematch, seeded 27th, who, as a top-ranked player, walked on the court of Susan Langlen after her opponent.
The ball is kicked out of play. Despite the humid and harsh conditions on the clay, both Anisimova and Osaka have the power to strike to strike the winners in any conditions. But Anisimova, with her high and risky tastes, has far more success at Roland Garros than Osaka. As a 17-year-old, Anisimova reached the semifinals in 2019 before losing to future champion Ashley Bart.