Amanda Anisimova vs Ashleigh Barty: First Test for the Aussie? (Jan. 23)
Anadolu Agency/Getty. Pictured: Ashleigh Barty hits a backhand in a match at the Australian Open against Camila Giorgi.
Ashleigh Barty vs. Amanda Anisimova
|Time | TV||3 a.m. ET | ESPN+|
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World number 60 Amanda Anisimova is playing the tennis of her life. In the third round of the Australian Open against defending champion Naomi Osaka,
Anisimova found herself down a set and later in the third set, down two match points. Yet, she never blinked.
The American came back to beat the 13th-seeded Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). Anisimova had to play very well to win this match. She won 72% of her service points while serving at 68% first serves in, and was only broken once all match.
Anisimova hit 46 winners compared to 44 unforced errors over the course of the match, showing that she’s not afraid to go for her groundstrokes. Particularly against.a player like Osaka who punishes anything short in the court, it was important for Anisimova to go for her shots when she had the opportunity.
After her rough opening set against Arianne Hartono in the first round of the tournament, Anisimova has since hit a combined 94 winners compared to 91 unforced errors. Considering she also had to play reigning Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in the second round, Anisimova has put together high-level wins against high-level competition.
Number one seed Ashleigh Barty is cruising through the draw through the first few rounds of the Australian Open. In the third round, Barty comfortably took down Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3.
The Australian’s serve was firing all match. She won 93% of her first serves, 62% of her second serves, and wasn’t broken. Barty also did a great job of absorbing Giorgi’s power and neutralizing points when Giorgi tried to take control with her big groundstrokes.
Over the course of the first three rounds, Barty has dropped only eight games. She’s won over 70% of her first serves and over 55% of her second serves over the course of her matches and she hasn’t been broken in the tournament one time.
It’s clear that both players are in-form coming into this match. Barty is the number one seed for a reason and won the Adelaide 1 warmup event coming into the tournament, as well. She obviously has the game to thrive down under, but this isn’t going to be easy.
While Anisimova is unseeded, don’t let that fool you. She recently won the Melbourne Summer Set 2 warmup tournament and is certainly a player where her ranking misrepresents her actual level.
This is backed up by the Elo ratings. As I mentioned in a previous article, and it still applies here, Anisimova is 31st overall in Elo and 26th on hard courts. It should be noted that Barty is first in both the overall and hard-court Elo ratings.
It is also important to note that Barty, despite having two major, has never won the Australian Open. As an Australian, there is some added pressure that comes with the territory.
Stylistically, I’m not worried about Anisimova not being able to hang in rallies from the baseline against Barty in power exchanges.
She was able to stand her ground and be aggressive against high-quality players such as Osaka and Bencic, and if she was able to do well in those matches, then I think she should be able to play similarly against Barty.
The concern for Anisimova will be her ability to deal with Barty’s backhand slice. But while Anisimova is striking the ball so well, she’ll need to be careful that she doesn’t fall into a rut and spray errors.
She also has experience playing Barty on the big stage in her pocket, having been up 7-6(4), 3-0* in the semifinals of the 2019 French Open. While she ultimately lost that match in three sets, it was a good learning opportunity for the then-teenager and a chance to see the Barty game (although on clay).
Ultimately, despite Barty’s very high level of play, Anisimova should be able to hang tough and send this match over the total.
Pick: Over 20.5 Games (-120)