World No 1 Naomi Osaka crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday, routed by Belinda Bencic on a day that saw second-ranked Simona Halep sent packing, too.
Bencic, ranked 23rd in the world, defeated Osaka 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the prestigious WTA premier mandatory event, where Osaka won her first tour title last year.
That marked the start of a remarkable rise that included Osaka’s first Grand Slam title at the US Open. She followed that with an Australian Open crown that sent her to No 1.
But she never found her feet against Bencic, whose crisp groundstrokes and precise service game propelled her to victory in 66 minutes.
“I didn’t play that well,” Osaka said. “Honestly, at a time like this with that scoreline, I would usually feel very depressed and sad. But I feel pretty good right now, because I tried my best and I don’t really have any regrets.
“She was just playing so well … there wasn’t anything that I could do in that situation.” Read more