Belinda Bencic sent defending champion Naomi Osaka packing from the US Open as the world number one lost in the fourth round after falling to dangerous Swiss in straight sets, Concise News reports.
The 21-year-old Japanese was weak and could not go past the former world No. 7 who was at her best having won the match 7-5 6-4 in an hour and 27 minutes.
13th seed Bencic had won both of her previous encounters in 2019 against Osaka and it was once again a match-up that didn’t suit the top seed as she was forced to kiss her title goodbye.
Osaka Slips On WTA Rankings
The defeat, however, means the Osaka who will slip behind Ash Barty when the WTA rankings are next released.
Ash Barty won her first of two Grand Slam titles just 12 months ago, beating Serena Williams in a controversy-filled final.
The 22-year-old – who hit 29 winners at the expense of just 12 unforced errors – will go on to face Danna Vekic in the quarter-finals, in what is just her second appearance at this stage of a Slam.
Her first debut in the last-eight of a major came as a teenager in the 2014 event before being thrashed by China’s Peng Shuai.
First-time Grand Slam finalist at US Open
It’s now guaranteed there will be a first-time Grand Slam finalist in the top half of the draw and Bencic will sense there’s a real opportunity to go all the way.
“I was so excited to come on the court, the challenge cannot be bigger against Naomi who was the champion last year,’ Bencic said.
“I had to be at the top of the game and I’m really pleased with how I managed my nerves in the end.”
Bencic is targeting her second title of the year after winning a Premier 5 event in Dubai, beating Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova on her way to that title.
For Osaka, who has had her knee strapped up during the entirety of this event and called for the trainer in the second set, it’s a case of back to the drawing board, although there remain signs that she is close to returning to her best form after an indifferent season following her Australian Open triumph.
Bencic thumped 15 winners past the Japanese in the first set, breaking twice and, crucially, at the death to move in front.
A third break came for the Swiss in the fifth game of the second set and it proved to be a bridge too far for Osaka, who was forced to bid farewell to New York. The loss ensures there will be two different champions from the 2018 edition after Djokovic retired against Stan Wawrinka on Sunday night.