In-form Belinda Bencic sends world No 1 Naomi Osaka packing in Indian Wells
Belinda Bencic continued her brilliant run of form as she dethroned Naomi Osaka at the BNP Paribas Open while there were also wins for Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber.
World No 23 Bencic came into the Indian Wells tournament on the back of winning the Dubai Duty Free Championship in February and she carried that form into Tuesday’s last-16 meeting against the world No 1.
The Swiss secured the 6-3, 6-1 win in one hour and five minutes against an erratic Osaka.
.@BelindaBencic knocks out World No. 1 Osaka, 6-3, 6-1!
— WTA (@WTA) March 13, 2019
Bencic broke three times in the first set and twice in the second.
“She’s the No. 1 player in the world. She won everything in the past couple of months,” the 22-year-old said after the match. “I played I think a great match. I’m really happy with myself.
“I think I served really good. The first set was great for me, and then I just tried to keep it like that. It was a little bit more windy in the second set, but I think tactic-wise, I played very solid.”
She will face fifth seed Pliskova in the quarter-final after the Czech beat Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 6-2.
Beats Kontaveit, 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-2! pic.twitter.com/MJjUOLuuA3
— WTA (@WTA) March 13, 2019
Eighth seed Kerber saw off the challenge of Aryna Sabalenka as the German outlasted the ninth seed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Kerber looked to be on her way out as Sabalenka broke twice early in the decider to race into a 4-1 lead, but she won the final five games to book her quarter-final place against Venus Williams, who beat Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-4.
“For sure it was the toughest match of the tournament for me,” Kerber said after the match. “It was an up and down match, a lot of emotions on court. I played really well in the first set, she came back really strong. The third set, I think it was just another fight and another comeback from me.
“I was trying to play every single point and still believing that I could turn around the match. I think in the end it was a fight to win the match.”
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