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Defending Champions Osaka, Djokovic out of US Open 2019
Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are out of the ongoing US Open 2019.
While Osaka, the women’s defending champion was knocked out, losing 7-5 6-4 to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the last 16, Djokovic quit because of injury against Swiss 23rd seed Stan Wawrinka as defeat loomed in an electrifying fourth-round match.
Djokovic, 32, retired with a shoulder problem seconds after a double fault left him two sets and a break down.
Osaka, 21, was broken late in the opening set and then again in the fifth game of the second under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof at Flushing Meadows.
Japan’s Osaka will lose her world number one ranking, with Ashleigh Barty of Australia to return to the top spot.
Bencic, the 13th seed, will play Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals.
The Croat, seeded 23rd, saved a match point as she beat Germany’s 26th seed Julia Gorges 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 42 minutes on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
For Bencic, 22, it is her second appearance in the quarter-finals after also making the last eight in 2014 as a 17-year-old.
She has now beaten Osaka three times this year after previous victories in Indian Wells and Madrid.
“I was so excited to come on the court, the challenge cannot be bigger – Naomi Osaka is a great player and won the US Open last year,” said Bencic. “I had to be on top of my game and am really pleased with how I played.
“She has a lot of power, I was just trying to play it a little bit like chess, anticipate and make a tactic on the court.”
Osaka, who beat Serena Williams in last year’s final for her maiden Grand Slam title, started off badly as she lost her serve at the first opportunity and had to save two break points to avoid going 3-0 down.
She then fought back with a break before Bencic took the decisive break in the 11th game and then served out the set.
In the second set, an Osaka double fault gifted Bencic another break and the Swiss player took the final game of the match with a service hold to love.
After winning the Australian Open in January for her second Grand Slam, Osaka became the world number one, a position she held until June when Barty took over.
Osaka returned to the top eight weeks later but Barty will become number one again, despite losing in the last 16 to China’s Qiang Wang on Sunday.
Loud boos greeted the Serb Djokovic’s decision to pull out, with more heard as he walked off court.
“I’m sorry for the crowd. They came to see a full match but it wasn’t to be,” said world number one Djokovic.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka had dominated the last-16 contest in a boisterous atmosphere at Arthur Ashe Stadium, producing a powerful display reminiscent of his best to lead 6-4 7-5 2-0, when Djokovic decided he could not continue.
Wawrinka, 34, will play Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.