Brilliant Bencic stuns Osaka; Wawrinka up as Djokovic quits - GulfToday

Brilliant Bencic stuns Osaka; Wawrinka up as Djokovic quits

Brilliant Bencic stuns Osaka; Wawrinka up as Djokovic quits

Belinda Bencic (right) shakes hands with Naomi Osaka after their 4th round US Open match on Monday. AFP

Reigning champion Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the US Open by Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-4 in the last 16 at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Bencic defeated Osaka for the third time in as many meetings this year and will play Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals. Osaka will lose the number one ranking to Ashleigh Barty as a result of the loss.

“The challenge cannot be bigger against Naomi. I had to be at the top of my game and I’m really pleased how well I handled my nerves at the end,” said Bencic, who also beat Osaka at Indian Wells and Madrid.

“I’m trying to play like chess and make it tactical on the court,” she added. “Taking the serve early, trying to anticipate because she has so much power.”

Bencic, 22, equaled her best at a Grand Slam having reached the last eight on her US Open debut in 2014.

Osaka’s exit means there will be four different women’s Grand Slam winners in a season for the third consecutive year, a first in the Open era.

Meanwhile, Croatia’s Donna Vekic saved a match point to advance to the US Open quarter-finals on Monday by defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-3.

The victory sends the 23rd seed into a Wednesday quarter-final against Bencic.

In an earlier match, top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic said “life goes on” after a shoulder injury forced him to quit Sunday’s clash with Stan Wawrinka in the last 16 of the US Open.

Wawrinka, the 23rd seed and 2016 champion, led Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 when the Serb quit with a nagging left shoulder problem that had troubled him since the start of the tournament.

“The pain was constant for weeks now. Some days higher, some days with less intensity and obviously taking different stuff to kill the pain instantly,” Djokovic said.

“Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You just know when you know, I guess, when you feel like you’re not able to hit the shot anymore.”

Djokovic refused to expand on the nature of his injury, which had caused him considerable pain during a second-round win over Juan Ignacio Londero.

“I retired and I told you it’s left shoulder. I have nothing more to talk about,” he said.

Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev tried to make peace on Sunday with US Open fans who have booed him for two matches after using their energy to help him reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

“I need to be a better person on the court,” said Medvedev, who was fined after each of his first three matches at Flushing Meadows.

The Russian fifth seed booked a berth in the last eight by defeating 118th-ranked German qualifier Dominik Koepfer 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Medvedev was fined $9,000 for an obscene gesture and unsportsmanlike conduct in a third-round victory Friday. After his middle-finger gesture was shown on video screens, fans booed him unmercifully.

Earlier, Serena Williams overcame an injury scare to maintain her pursuit of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the US Open on Sunday as Karolina Pliskova crashed out in the last 16.

Williams, a six-time US Open winner, romped to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic to set up a quarter-final with China’s Wang Qiang, the conqueror of world number two Barty.

The 37-year-old American star required a medical timeout in the second set after rolling her right ankle as she approached the net but promptly recovered to reach the last eight in New York for the 16th time.

“I feel fine right now physically,” said Williams, who received further strapping to an already heavily taped ankle.

“But I’ll see tomorrow. So far I’m good. I have been managing it. We’ll see tomorrow.

In an earlier match, Johanna Konta avenged her Rome final loss to Pliskova in May, beating the Czech third seed for just the second time in eight tries, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 7-5.

The British 16th seed has raised her game at the Slams this season, and is enjoying her best run at Flushing Meadows, having twice reached the fourth round.

“To go one step further is a massive achievement for me and I’m really hoping to make that one, two, three steps forward,” Konta said.


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