Top-Ranked Djokovic, Osaka Sent Packing from Indian Wells

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Top-Ranked Djokovic, Osaka Sent Packing from Indian Wells

The world's No 1 tennis stars, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday (Mar 13).

Japan's Osaka was routed 6-3, 6-1 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in the fourth round of the tournament.

Osaka was trying to defend a title for the first time in her career. Her triumph in this elite WTA premier mandatory tournament launched a stellar rise in 2018 that included a first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

She followed that up with an Australian Open crown in January that propelled the 21-year-old to No 1 in the world.

Bencic, who turned 22 on Sunday, was a teenage star who won two titles in 2015 but saw her career stalled by a string of back and wrist injuries.

She is back on the rise, ranked 23rd in the world after capturing the title in Dubai last month.

After her 66-minute triumph over Osaka, Bencic will fight for a semi-final berth against either fifth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova or Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, claiming his first career win over a world No 1 player to reach the fourth round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.

Serbian superstar Djokovic was playing his first tournament since lifting a record seventh title in Melbourne, taking his tally of Grand Slam victories to 15.

He had won eight of nine prior meetings with Kohlschreiber, but could find no answer to the 39th-ranked veteran, who had come up empty in 11 prior attempts to beat a top-ranked rival.

"It's a very special moment," Kohlschreiber said. "Of course, playing the top guys is always a big pleasure, but most of the time they beat you.

"Today, with Novak being No 1, top-seeded here, it's a very incredible win for me."

In a match that resumed after rain stopped play just one game in on Monday night, Kohlschreiber said the warmer daytime conditions suited him better.

He came out with a crisp, confident style, breaking Djokovic in the seventh game and closing out the opening set with a service winner.

Djokovic displayed his frustration by banging his racquet against his foot until it crumpled, but it did nothing to improve his fortunes as Kohlschreiber opened the second set with a break.

Two wayward forehands and a double fault from Djokovic helped Kohlschreiber to another break for a 5-2 lead.

Then it was Kohlschreiber's turn to show some nerves as a string of four errors, including a double fault gave Djokovic a break back.

He made no mistake on his second chance, however, firing a sideline-skimming forehand to seal the milestone win on his first match point.

Kohlschreiber, who arrived at Indian Wells on a three-match losing streak, will face France's Gael Monfils for a place in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic will try to regroup after the abrupt end to his bid to win a record sixth Indian Wells title and match Rafael Nadal's record of 33 Masters 1000 titles.

 

Source: AFP