Tennis: Top-ranked Naomi Osaka shocked by Belinda Bencic in Indian Wells fourth round

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is ranked 23rd in the world.
Switzerland's Belinda Bencic is ranked 23rd in the world.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

INDIAN WELLS (AFP) - World No. 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday (March 12), routed 6-3, 6-1 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.

Japan's 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's 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.