Ranked Osaka, Halep crash out of Indian Wells

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Having not lost a match since January, Belinda Bencic might've scored her biggest win yet on Tuesday in Indian Wells.

World No. 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka crashed out of the fourth round of the women's tournament at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, upset by a lower-seeded challenger just hours after fellow countryman Kei Nishikori suffered the same fate in the third round of the men's tournament.

Osaka surprised the tennis world when she parted with coach Sascha Bajin shortly after winning the Australian Open and moving to number one in the world. 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 a year ago. "But I feel pretty good right now, because I think, given the circumstances, I tried my best and I don't really have any regrets".

Bencic - who beat four top-10 players on the way to the title in Dubai last month, her first trophy in four years - next faces fifth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, who downed Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 6-2. "So just things worked out for me", said Bencic.

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 don't enjoy losing, nobody does, but especially in a tournament like this, a tournament where I have had plenty of success in the past", Djokovic, 31, said.

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

"In the first set I was just really flat-footed".

That marked the start of a remarkable rise that included Osaka's first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

She will play Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, who beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 6-4, in the next round.

"I never played her, so you're out there learning what they do well, what shots they select", Williams said, admitting that it wasn't until the second set that she felt 'OK, I understand'.

She will be doing the same in the round of 16 against Aryna Sabalenka, the ninth seed from Belarus who defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 7-5.

The duo were joined in the fourth round by seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who defeated qualifier Christina McHale 6-2 7-5. She rallied past Andrea Petkovic in the opening round and followed up by outlasting No. 3 seed Petra Kvitova in a third-set tiebreaker.

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