Barty back as Osaka crashes and burns
New York Title holder Naomi Osaka has crashed out of the US Open with a 7-5 6-4 defeat to Belinda Bencic.
Osaka will also lose the world No. 1 spot to Ashleigh Barty after the result on Monday.
The 21-year-old found no answer to the accuracy and consistency of the 13th-seeded Swiss as she lost for the third time this year to Bencic in 1 hour and 26 minutes under the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium on a rainy day.
"The challenge cannot be bigger playing Naomi," Bencic said. "She has a lot of power, me not so much. I play like chess and anticipate."
Bencic broke Osaka to love in the fifth game of the second set on a double fault from the Japanese.
Two days after her emotional win over Coco Gauff, Osaka called for the trainer at the following changeover, was given a pill, but was not able to turn around the match again as Bencic served out the match to love.
The defeat lets her slip to fourth in the rankings, according to the WTA, with Barty returning to the top, ahead of Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep - although all three of them are also already out in New York.
Osaka's elimination also means that the US Open are without both top seeds in the quarter-finals for the first time in the Open era which started in 1968. Men's No.1 Novak Djokovic, also the 2018 champ, retired with a shoulder injury in his match against Stan Wawrinka.
It gives Serena Williams' hopes of claiming a record 24th grand slam this week a huge boost given the lack of experience left in the draw.
Grand Slam singles titles— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) September 2, 2019
Serena Williams: 23
Rest of the remaining 2019 US Open women's field: 0
Williams meets Barty conqueror Qiang Wang in the quarters. If she wins that a semi against the winner of Jo Konta's match against fifth seed Elina Svotlina - the highest ranked women's player left in the draw - awaits.
Bencic, the highest seeded player left in the top half of the draw, now faces Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic, who saved a match point as she rallied to a first victory in four meetings with German 26th seed Julia Goerges 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-3.
Vekic is enjoying her best run at the majors, making a stunning comeback after last year's Wimbledon semi-finalist Goerges threw away what seemed an assured fourth win in as many meetings with the Croatian.
Goerges slammed 21 aces but committed three of her six double faults serving for the match at 5-4 in the second as Vekic locked the set with four unanswered games.
The German double faulted again to hand Vekic a crucial 5-3 lead in the final set and Vekic served out the match after saving two break points, winning when Goerges hit an overhead long for her 49th unforced error.
"I don't even know how I won this match. She had match point but I kept on fighting," Vekic said.
"It feels pretty amazing. I was just trying to get a return in. I felt confident in the rallies."