Date: 21 January 2022.
Round: Third round (Round of 32).
Venue: Melbourne, Australia.
Category: Grand Slam.
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt.
Prize money: $75,000,000.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport | India - Sony Six, Sony Liv.
Naomi Osaka vs Amanda Anisimova preview
Defending champion Naomi Osaka and the in-form Amanda Anisimova will square off in a blockbuster third-round match at the Australian Open on Friday.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka wrapped up her 2021 season after bowing out in the third round of the US Open in September. The Japanese didn't play for much of last year to deal with her struggles with mental health.
However, the hiatus hasn't affected the former World No. 1 much. She made the semifinals of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 in her first tournament back and has looked in fine form at the Australian Open so far.
The 24-year-old has had a breezy outing in each of her two matches against Camila Osorio and Madison Brengle, dropping just 10 games along the way.
Up next is 20-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who could subject Osaka to her sternest test of the week.
Having made a breakthrough run to the semifinals of the French Open in 2019, Anisimova's next couple of seasons haven't offered much to remember. The American suffered a sharp lack of confidence and continued to slide down the rankings following the demise of her father and coach, Konstantin, that year.
The youngster has finally come to terms with her loss and seems to be mentally at peace with it now. She has joined forces with renowned coach Darren Cahill for a trial period this year and the results have been positive so far.
Anisimova won her first title in three years at the Melbourne Summer Set 2 earlier this month before heading to the inaugural Major of the season.
With wins over Arianne Hartono and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open, the 20-year-old has now extended her winning streak to seven matches.
Naomi Osaka vs Amanda Anisimova head-to-head
Osaka and Anisimova have never squared off on the tour before, so the head-to-head is currently tied at 0-0.
Naomi Osaka vs Amanda Anisimova prediction
Osaka comes into this match with vast experience although Anisimova has been in better form in the recent past.
The Japanese is yet to get into the groove at the Australian Open. However, her problem-solving skills have been top notch and will aid her against the dangerous Anisimova.
Osaka's backhand let her down on a few occasions in the second round against Madison Brengle after a flawless first set. The Japanese quickly changed her strategy after dropping her serve in the seventh game of the second set.
She started moving forward to finish points at the net, keeping her opponent pinned at the back of the court. The effort paid rich dividends as Brengle had no answer. The surprise element could help Osaka break the rhythm of the hard-hitting Anisimova, who produced 28 winners against Bencic.
Both are aggressive players and will look to serve well and attack right from the start in this face-off. But Osaka's ability to focus under pressure as well as her newly-acquired finesse and rich experience could help her edge the youngster.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in three sets.
Also check out: Complete Australian Open 2022 results