Australian Open: Naomi Osaka upset by Amanda Anisimova

Amanda Anisimova Australian Open
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American Amanda Anisimova ended Naomi Osaka‘s title defense at the Australian Open, pulling off a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) upset in the third round on Friday.

“I fought for every point. I can’t be sad about that,” said Osaka, whose ranking will fall from No. 14 to outside the top 50 in part because of her well-documented breaks last season. “I’m not God. I can’t win every match. … I can’t think of myself to try to win the Grand Slam at the start of the year every time.”

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

Osaka, who won in Melbourne in 2019 and 2021, took two hiatuses from the sport last year, including a season-ending one after losing in the third round of the U.S. Open.

Back then, Osaka said that winning didn’t make her happy anymore and that she didn’t know when she would play her next tennis match. It didn’t happen until the first week of January at an Australian Open warm-up tournament, but she has been in good spirits Down Under.

“I grew a lot in this match,” she said. “The last match that I played in New York I think I had a completely different attitude. Of course I lost, but I’m happy with how it went.”

Anisimova, a 2019 French Open semifinalist at age 17, is back on the rise after a challenging two years that included the unexpected death of her father one week before the 2019 U.S. Open.

Osaka broke her in the opening game, but Anisimova faced just seven break points the rest of the match and saved all of them, including two match points.

“This is everything that I train for,” Anisimova said. “I mean, I was getting goose bumps in the tiebreaker.”

Last season, Anisimova tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before the Australian Open and missed the tournament while isolating in Abu Dhabi.

She then rolled an ankle later that winter and ended up playing just one match in a four-month stretch. She went nearly eight months between winning multiple matches in a tournament and finished 2021 ranked 78th, down 48 spots from 2020.

Anisimova started working with respected Australian coach Darren Cahill going into this season. She won an Australian Open lead-in tournament in Melbourne, her second WTA title and first since April 2019.

“I really wanted to be having these moments again,” Anisimova said. “Sometimes you doubt it, like what if I get injured, and I’ll never be able to play in a Grand Slam again?”

Now she’s into the fourth round of a major for the first time since that 2019 French Open breakthrough. She gets top-ranked Ash Barty, who defeated Anisimova in that French Open semifinal.

Anisimova lost 17 of the first 18 points in that match. Down 5-0, she saved two set points and won six straight games. She then won 17 straight points between the tiebreak and was up a set and a break before Barty came back and won in three en route to her first major title.

“That was a turning point in my career,” Barty said Friday. “It’s exciting to get to play Amanda again.”

Barty, looking to be the first Aussie singles player to win the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil in 1978, rolled No. 30 Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-2, 6-3 on Friday. She has dropped eight games total in three matches.

No. 6 seed Rafael Nadal moved four match wins from a record-breaking 21st men’s singles major title, dumping No. 28 Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in his first match against a top-40 player since last year’s French Open. He next gets 69th-ranked French veteran Adrian Mannarino.

Other high seeds had a much tougher time advancing into the round of 16 on Friday.

No. 4 Barbora Krejčíková, No. 8 Paula Badosa and No. 7 men’s seed Matteo Berrettini were also pushed to deciding sets. Berrettini, the 2021 Wimbledon runner-up, needed 4 hours, 10 minutes to dispatch 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz 6-2, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

Australian Open Day 6 Schedule

No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas benefited from an upset in their sections and face unseeded players in the third round — Medvedev gets Botic van de Zandschulp and Tsitsipas faces Benoit Paire.

Taylor Fritz, the highest-seeded U.S. man at No. 20, should produce a more competitive match with No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut.

No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka needed three sets to win her first two matches with some horrible serving. She might not have that margin for error against her third-round opponent, No. 31 Marketa Vondrousova.

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final