Indian Wells: Simona Halep out, Garbine Muguruza & Bianca Andreescu through

Silvia Morton
March 16, 2019

World number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday, routed 6-3, 6-1 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.

The Swiss has not lost since January, while Osaka will remain number one after the tournament following Halep's elimination. Bencic, ranked 23rd in the world, defeated Osaka 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the prestigious WTA premier mandatory event, where Osaka won her first tour title past year.

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

"Honestly, I think at a time like this with that scoreline, I would usually feel very depressed and sad", Osaka said.

Osaka was not the only top player who was shocked in California court as world No. 2 and 2015 title victor Simona Halep also fell to Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova by 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Bencic, who just celebrated her 22nd birthday on Sunday, will now meet former semifinalist Karolina Pliskova who needed three sets to get past Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (0), 4-6, 6-2. I'm really happy with myself.

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 mean, she's the number one player in the world".

Venus Williams beat Christina Mc Hale to reach the Indian Wells fourth round. AP
Venus Williams beat Christina Mc Hale to reach the Indian Wells fourth round. AP

Since Osaka won the title at Indian Wells a year ago, she won the U.S and Australian Opens.

She beat four top-10 players on the way to the title in Dubai. Her triumph in Australia made her No. 1 for the first time, but her time at the top has been rocky.

Ukrainian sixth seed Svitolina needed three hours, 11 minutes to overcome Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 6-4 in the longest WTA match of the year.

Spain's Muguruza out-lasted seventh-ranked Kiki Bertens 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 while Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam victor, beat Germany's Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-4.

"I think I did well", she said.

"She sort of came out there really aggressive".

Another teenager, unseeded Canadian Bianca Andreescu, upset 18th seed Wang Qiang of China 7-5 6-2 to book her place in the quarters. Williams will fight for a semi-final berth against eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat ninth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

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