Less than 15 hours after men's top seed and defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic was eliminated, women's top seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka was knocked out by 13th seed Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-4.
The Swiss won 82 percent of her first serve points to defeat Osaka for the third time this year. She also recorded her tour-leading seventh top five victory of 2019 to advance to the quarterfinals against 23rd seed Donna Vekic.
Clinical Bencic serves up big surprise against Osaka
Bencic asserted herself right away with laser-like forehands and precise backhands, putting the pressure on Osaka, who immediately double-faulted to hand the Swiss the break.
A nervous top seed faced four more break points and was able to save all of them to record an important hold. Osaka would begin to get her power game going, drawing an error from Bencic to break back.
The set settled into a pattern of both players holding serve with little discomfort until the 11th game until Bencic flashed a beautiful backhand to break for a 6-5 advantage. She closed out the set a game later to put Osaka on firm notice.
There were really no openings for the top seed in the second set until the fourth game when 15-30 arose, but Osaka could make nothing of it. She was broken in the next game after a mistimed volley and double fault on break point.
From there, neither player was headed and Bencic was able to serve out the match at the first time of asking, finishing with a one-two punch. Overall, she tallied 29 winners to just 12 unforced errors.
"I just came with the same mentality like I played her before", Bencic would say after the match. [I] just really focused on the game and not the hype or the occasion, the stadium and the round. After the match, it feels definitely different. It feels like this was the most important one."