Osaka keeps Indian Wells title defense on track AFP, Indian Wells

Tennis: Osaka finds positives despite Indian Wells upset

Naomi Osaka (JPN) as she was defeated in her fourth round match against Belinda Bencic (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

World number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka powered past American Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-2 on Monday to book a fourth-round berth in the WTA premier mandatory tournament at Indian Wells.

The Swiss has not lost since January, while Osaka will remain number one after the tournament following Halep's elimination. She finished out the next game for a 3-1 lead and led 5-1 before Collins saved a match point to hold and make Osaka serve out the match.

Recalling her loss to Bencic at last year's Hopman Cup, the Japanese, who is seeking her first title defence, said: "That's really awesome, the fact that she was able to come back from her injury and still play at a really top level".

After dropping the first set, Djokovic displayed his frustration by banging his racquet against his foot until it crumpled.

Osaka was not the only top player who was shocked in California court as world No. 2 and 2015 title victor Simona Halep also fell to Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova by 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

"She was playing really fast and flat, so that was something I was not really expecting", the German said of her opponent.

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Bencic, who just celebrated her 22nd birthday on Sunday, will now meet former semifinalist Karolina Pliskova who needed three sets to get past Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (0), 4-6, 6-2. "I mean, she's the number one player in the world. So just things worked out for me", said Bencic. The first set was great for me, and then I just tried to keep it like that.

Osaka said the first title defense of her career had brought different challenges, and she thought she handled them well.

She beat four top-10 players on the way to the title in Dubai.

She will be doing the same in the round of 16 against Aryna Sabalenka, the ninth seed from Belarus who defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 7-5.

"I feel like there is no anonymity", she said.

Seven-time grand slam victor Venus Williams also found it tricky facing fellow American Christina McHale for the first time, but she pulled back early breaks in each set to win 6-2, 7-5.

In other third-round action, three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber came from a set down to beat Russian qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

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