By Lawrence Oshodi (SPORTS CORRESPONDENT) –
Naomi Osaka, four-time grand slam champion, was knocked out of the Western & Southern Open by unseeded opponent Jil Teichmann.
Osaka was projected to advance to the WTA 1,000 quarterfinals, but she was eliminated in three sets on Thursday.
World number one Ash Barty, on the other hand, blitzed defending champion Victoria Azarenka en way to the final.
After sprinting out to a 3-0 lead before finishing out the first set, Osaka appeared to be on course for a straightforward victory.
Teichmann, an obscure wildcard, beat the Japanese star 3-6 6-3 6-3.
Teichmann won her biggest match of her career after rallying past Osaka, who had only lost in the first set four times since 2017 — a record of 118-3.
“I thought she played really well. I thought in the first set I was doing everything I was supposed to do.
“Then in the second set I feel like, and also in the third set I felt like I was a bit too defensive maybe,” Osaka said.
“I felt like I learned a lot from this match today, and I felt that, if anything to take away from this, I tried my best throughout the entire match, so I can sleep at night.”
Teichmann will face Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in an all-Swiss match after the 10th seed led 7-5 2-1 when Karolina Muchova quit hurt.
Top seed Barty dominated two-time grand slam winner Azarenka 6-0 6-2 in a ruthless display.
Thursday was Azarenka’s most humbling defeat since 2007, when she lost 6-1 6-1 to Romina Opran when she was 17 years old.
“Vika [Azarenka] has this way of bringing out the very best in me. I’ve enjoyed playing on the same side as her in doubles.
“We’ve had success in doubles, we’re great mates, and we have a lot of respect for each other,” said Wimbledon champion Barty.
“For both of us that means we always have really good battles and regardless of who wins and who loses you always get a good handshake, you look each other in the eye and you say ‘Too good’, and it’s like it never happened.
“That’s what I really respect about Vika. I knew today was going to be exceptionally tough and I feel like I played a great match throughout the whole thing.”
Barty’s next opponent is Barbora Krejcikova, the ninth seed who defeated former world number one Garbine Muguruza. 6-2, 6-1, 6-7 (5-7).
Angelique Kerber, a three-time grand slam winner, and Petra Kvitova, a two-time major champion, both won as they set to face in the final eight.