Naomi Osaka's achy left knee didn't let her serve without pain, so she didn't practice that key part of her game leading into the US Open. The knee also prevented her from covering the court and preparing for shots the way she'd like. Those weren't the only reasons that the No. 1-seeded Osaka's 10-match winning streak at the US Open and title defense ended Monday in the fourth round. Belinda Bencic's clean, crisp strokes, struck with the ball still on the rise, contributed plenty to the outcome, too. Osaka joined 2018 men's champion Novak Djokovic on the sideline before the quarterfinals, exiting with a 7-5, 6-4 loss to the 13th-seeded Bencic under a closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium on a rainy afternoon, the AP reports. Djokovic stopped playing in his fourth-rounder Sunday night because of a problematic left shoulder.
"I honestly didn't move well today. You know what I mean? I felt like I was always flat-footed ... The knee was a little bit annoying in the movement aspect," Osaka said. "But I think that that's something I should have overcome." As for her powerful serve, Osaka called it "inconsistent," saying she hadn't been working on it coming into the year's last Grand Slam tournament "because I can't really land on my leg that great." Bencic, who is from Switzerland, is now 3-0 against Osaka in 2019. "I don't have the biggest power. Don't have the most winners or most aces. But I think I can really read the opponent's game well," said the 22-year-old Bencic, who will face No. 23 Donna Vekic of Croatia in the quarterfinals. "I definitely try to do that against anyone, not only against her."
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