Top-ranked Osaka shocked by Bencic in Indian Wells 4th round


Indian Wells (United States) (AFP)

World number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday, routed 6-3, 6-1 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.

Japan's Osaka was trying to defend a title for the first time in her career. Her triumph in this elite WTA premier mandatory tournament launched a stellar rise in 2018 that included a first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

She followed that up with an Australian Open crown in January that propelled the 21-year-old to number one in the world.

Bencic, who turned 22 on Sunday, was a teenage star who won two titles in 2015 but saw her career stalled by a string of back and wrist injuries.

She's back on the rise, ranked 23rd in the world after capturing the title in Dubai last month.

After her 66-minute triumph over Osaka, Bencic will fight for a semi-final berth against either fifth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova or Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

Bencic's win was her second ever against a world number one. She beat then top-ranked Serena Williams on the way to the title in Toronto four years ago.

She beat four top-10 players on the way to the title in Dubai.