Written by Reuters
13 Mar, 2019 | 3:36 pm
Reuters: Naomi Osaka followed Simona Halep through the exit door at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday (March 12) as the top two players in the world were sent packing in the fourth round at Indian Wells.
World number one Osaka never found her rhythm against Belinda Bencic as the Swiss used her precise groundstrokes and pinpoint serving to topple the defending champion 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.
The 22-year-old Bencic, who has risen as high as world number seven before missing time with injuries, hit a forehand volley on match point to seal the win and send her into the quarter-finals.
Bencic, the world number 23, has made a habit of upending top 10 players of late, defeating four en route to winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month.
She will have another shot at a top-10 player when she takes on hard-hitting world number five Karolina Pliskova, who smashed 13 aces to dispatch Anett Kontaveit 7-6(0) 4-6 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.
Earlier in the day, Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova ran Halep ragged before dumping the Romanian out of the tournament 6-2 3-6 6-2.
Halep, who received medical treatment for blisters on her foot during the match, won less than half of her first-service points and hit just six winners to go with 36 unforced errors.
Halep’s loss ensured Osaka will retain her number one ranking after the tournament.
The win was 19-year-old Vondrousova’s first over a top-10 player in six attempts.
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