WTA Madrid: Belinda Bencic edges Naomi Osaka, puts #1 ranking up for grabs
Bencic celebrates victory/Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

WTA Madrid: Belinda Bencic edges Naomi Osaka, puts #1 ranking up for grabs

The Swiss defeated the Japanese for the second time in as many meetings, putting the #1 in the balance in the process.

john-lupo
John Lupo

Top seed Naomi Osaka has suffered a critical defeat at the hands of Belinda Bencic, the Swiss star recording a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open. The loss puts Osaka's #1 ranking at risk as Simona Halep can overtake her if she wins the tournament.

Bencic knocked off the world number one for the second time this season after having routed Osaka 6-3, 6-1 in Indian Wells. She will face Halep, who she has also beaten this year, in Dubai, in the semifinals.

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Osaka takes first set

Osaka started the match with a pair of easy holds and in between, had a break point on Bencic's first service game, but she netted a forehand and the Swiss escaped with a hold to keep pace.

The Japanese had another chance to break in the next Bencic and this time she converted when the world number 18 missed a backhand, giving Osaka 3-1 lead. Bencic then converted her own break chance with a backhand winner.

A further hold made the score 3-3, but Osaka regrouped and at 30-30, Bencic missed a backhand to bring up break point to which ahe double-faulted, Osaka back in front 5-3. A hold to 15 closed out the set for the world number one, sealed with an ace. 

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Bencic rebounds to claim second set

Bencic was under immediate pressure to start the second set, facing three break points in her opening service game, but Osaka was unable to convert on any of her chances, which would prove to be critical.

The next game saw Bencic's backhand do the damage, setting up two break points and forcing an error off of the Osaka racket on her second chance. A hold stretched the lead to 3-0.

The world number one had numerous chances in the Swiss' next service game and finally on her third chance, her oen backhand drew an error from Bencic to get the set back on serve.

The serve of the Japanese deserted her and she double-faulted to hand Bencic a 4-2 advantage. After a hold, she broke to clinch the set with another backhand winner to send the match to a third set.

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Bencic finishes fast, wins final four games to claim upset

With half of the court in shadows and the other half in sunlight, Bencic opened the deciding set by saving two break points to hold. Osaka did the same in her opening service game, escaping trouble with consecutive aces.

The next couple of games went by without a chance until the world number one broke to love in the fifth game to draw first blood in the decider. After five deuces, Osaka fired another ace to hold for a 4-2 edge.

The Japanese was two points from victory holding a 5-3 lead, but Bencic held and finished strong, winning 14 of the last 16 points, Osaka netting a backhand on match point, to seal a famous win.

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