INDIAN WELLS March 17: World No. 1 Simona Halep crashed out of the WTA Indian Wells tournament on Friday as she suffered a shocking 6-3, 6-0 upset loss to world No. 44 Naomi Osaka of Japan.
The 26-year-old former champion Halep dropped to 18-2 on the season as she lasted just 64 minutes on the court with the unseeded Osaka. “I just was not ready. I missed the ball a lot and I didn`t play what I had to play,” she said. “I don`t find excuses. She was better. I just was not ready and played wrong.”
Osaka punched her ticket to the final where she will face fellow 20-year-old Daria Kasatkina, who stunned seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in an earlier semi-final.
Osaka improved to 14-4 in 2018 as she came into the clash as the lowest ranked Indian Wells semi-finalist since Kim Clijsters in 2005.
Halep had three double faults, won just five points on her second serve and had her serve broken five times.
Halep, who had reached the semi-finals in all four of her tournaments in 2018, was trying to repeat her Indian Wells success of three years ago when she beat Jelena Jankovic to lift the trophy. (AFP)