Belinda Bencic stuns Naomi Osaka to give Simona Halep’s No 1 hopes a boost

Belinda Bencic celebrates

Belinda Bencic’s brilliant 2019 campaign continued at the Madrid Open as the Swiss upset Naomi Osaka to give Simona Halep’s hopes of regaining the No 1 ranking a boost.

Osaka would have stayed top of the rankings if she had reached the semi-finals, but she was beaten in three sets by Dubai champion Bencic.

The 22-year-old Bencic came from a set down to beat the two-time Grand Slam winner 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 10 minutes.

After exchanging the opening two sets, Osaka had the early advantage in the decider as she broke in game five, but Bencic stormed back to win the final four games.

Next up is third seed Halep, who can return to No 1 if she wins the title on Sunday.

The reigning French Open champion took down Australian Ashleigh Barty with a 7-5, 7-5 win.

Halep broke twice in each set, but Barty also managed one break of serve in the two sets.

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