Tennis fans fume as TV coverage cuts away from dramatic match to show skiing

The Australian Open defending champion is locked at 5-5 in the final set, the tension is palpable, and after two hours of action a dramatic tiebreak decider is on the horizon – so naturally, you end the coverage there and head over to the skiing.

Such a sequence of events prompted fury from Eurosport 2 viewers on Friday morning after they were denied watching the finish to Naomi Osaka's enthralling Australian Open duel with Amanda Anisimova – a match which eventually yielded a shock win for the American tennis star.

Osaka, who landed the tournament in both 2019 and 2021, had looked back to her imperious best to take the first set 6-4. However, Anisimova responded to take the second 6-3, and when the players couldn't be separated after 12 games of the third – the 20-year-old prevailed 10-5 in a sudden death tiebreak to notch one of the biggest wins of her career.

Osaka, 24, had previously held two match points at 4-5 in the deciding set, but Anisimova saved both and will now face world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in the last 16.

The contest lasted 138 minutes in all, not that those engrossed in the action via Eurosport would have known much about the climax after coverage cut to the Skiing World Cup being held in Austria.

To exacerbate matters, many viewers quickly switched over Eurosport 1 believing the station would simply switch its coverage over, only to find live footage of the coin toss and pre-match warm-up between Rafael Nadal and Karen Khachanov taking precedent.

Tennis journalist Jose Morgado was left unimpressed, tweeting: "Not Eurosport leaving Osaka’s match at 5-5 in the 3rd. Shambles." And he wasn't the only one as fans took to social media to vent their anger.

@lordtimfry ranted: "I like Rafa; he's a great player and he's very popular, but who at Eurosport thought watching him guess heads or tails would be better entertainment than watching Osaka at 5-5 in the third!"

@RicksterMac echoed similar sentiments, tagging the channel's account and saying: "Ridiculous decision. Brilliant match with DC Osaka. MPs saved. 5-5 in 3rd. Kitzbuhel in 15mins. WHY stop now!? We can wait for downhill until this done!?"

@awfcemily added: "Eurosport are so useless… you’re telling me they left the Osaka match at 5-5 in the 3rd set for SKIING?"

The dramatic finale was available on Eurosport's online channel, a factor not made clear to viewers at the time though.

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