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Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikori both lose in upsets at Indian Wells

Mar 13, 2019

California (USA) March 13: 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.
The 21-year-old Osaka, trying to defend a title for the first time in her career, was routed 6-3, 6-1 by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.
Bencic, also 21, 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.
In Stadium 2, sixth-seeded Nishikori was stunned by Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
"I played well in the first set but my opponent played better from the second set on, making no technical mistakes in serves and strokes. He was aggressive in key situations and I couldn't execute," said Nishikori, who had his left calf taped.
"He's tall and he serves well, but he also plays well defensively. The defense got me today," he said.
In their first head-to-head in last month's Dubai Championships, the Japanese star was sent packing by the 67th-ranked Hurkacz after a shock second-round defeat, also in three sets.
This time in the 2 hour, 4 minute match, Nishikori allowed Hurkacz to convert his third break point chance to take the second set 6-4. In the third set, Nishikori dropped his serve in the sixth game with a double fault and the 22-year-old Pole held his next two service games to close out the match.
Hurkacz, unseeded, reached the fourth round of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He will meet Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round.
Source: Japan Times