Indian Wells: Bad day for No. 1’s Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka; no trouble for Roger Federer
It was a tough day for seeded players at the BNP Paribas Open, with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, the world’s top-ranked players, the biggest names ushered out in the desert
Naomi Osaka followed Simona Halep through the exit door at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday 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.
“I was really happy with the performance,” Bencic told Tennis Channel. “It wasn’t as easy as the result is saying and I didn’t expect it like that, so definitely happy.”
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.
Osaka’s loss ended a bad day for world number ones after the men’s top player, Serb Novak Djokovic, fell 6-4 6-4 to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
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.
“I was running too much and too defensive,” the Romanian told reporters. “But it’s everything I could do today.”
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.
“I think I’m playing well all week but this is something special because she’s number two in the world,” Vondrousova said. “I was just fighting for every point.”
Another teenager, unseeded Canadian Bianca Andreescu, upset 18th seed Wang Qiang of China 7-5 6-2 to book her place in the quarters. The win was the 18-year-old Andreescu’s 25th of the year, the most of any WTA player.
She will next face Garbine Muguruza after the Spaniard battled back to dispatch Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 5-7 6-1 6-4.
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina came from a break down in the third set to defeat Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-6(8) 5-7 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Djokovic stunned by Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells
Philipp Kohlschreiber stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, sending the world number one tumbling out of a tournament he had won five times.
The German punched the air in celebration after a video review confirmed that his forehand winner caught the line on match point to seal the upset victory in Indian Wells.
The top-seeded Serb, who had not dropped a set in four matches since the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January, looked out-of-sorts throughout the 98-minute contest.
He committed 27 unforced errors, converted just one of his five break point opportunities and destroyed his racket at one point when frustration boiled over on a sunny day in the Southern California desert.
His sloppy play did not diminish the 35-year-old Kohlschreiber’s joy at defeating a number one ranked player for the first time in his long career, however.
“It’s a very special moment. Of course, playing the top guys is always a big pleasure, but most of the time they beat you,” Kohlschreiber said in an on-court interview.
“Today, with Novak being number one, top-seeded here, it’s a very incredible win for me.”
Djokovic tipped his cap to the veteran after the match.
“He’s been around for so many years and he doesn’t really get overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on center court,” he told reporters. “He’s proven he can win against top guys.”
Kohlschreiber will not have long to celebrate, however, as the overnight interruption of his match against Djokovic for rain means he will be back on court for a fourth-round meeting with France’s Gael Monfils on Wednesday.
Djokovic’s loss came on the same day that women’s world number one Naomi Osaka saw her title defence hopes dashed, falling 6-3 6-1 to Belinda Bencic.
In another upset earlier, Pole Hubert Hurkacz fired 10 aces en route to a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over world number seven Kei Nishikori of Japan to reach the fourth round.
The 67th-ranked Hurkacz needed just over two hours to complete the comeback win over the 2014 U.S. Open finalist.
The 22-year-old will next face Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who continued his run of dominant serving without being broken on his way to an impressive 6-4 6-2 win over 10th seeded Croat Marin Cilic.
After the match Shapovalov expressed his appreciation for his fans by rapping a song from the sun-soaked court three.
“Take care and good night, know this the good life, hot tubs and court time, Thursday we back alright!” he rapped at the end of the song, which got a roar of approval from the audience.
In another upset during the day session Russian 14th seed Daniil Medvedev fell 6-3 6-2 to Serbia’s world number 113 Filip Krajinovic.
Krajinovic will be a big underdog when he faces Spain’s world number two Rafa Nadal, who crushed Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-1 on the showcase court to reach the last 16.
World number four Roger Federer needed under an hour to defeat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-3 6-4 and will next face Briton Kyle Edmund, who defeated Radu Albot in straight sets earlier in the day.
American John Isner never faced a break point during his comfortable 6-3 6-4 win over Guido Pella.
The big-serving 2012 Indian Wells finalist will face Russian Karen Khachanov after he defeated countryman Andrey Rublev 7-5 6-3 in their fourth round match.