Five years after last Slam QF, Bencic "stronger person, better player"

Five years after last Slam QF, Bencic "stronger person, better player"

On Monday, the Swiss halted Naomi Osaka's US Open title defense, her third consecutive win over the defending champion.

It was quite a run for Naomi Osaka in Melbourne.

The Japanese player, ranked No. 127 heading into the Australian Open, made her presence felt in her Grand Slam main-draw debut.

The qualifier beat Donna Vekic in straight sets in the first round and No. 18 seed Elina Svitolina, 6-4, 6-4, in the second. 

The 18-year-old ran into a buzz saw on Day 6 in two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. The world No. 16 defeated Osaka, 6-1, 6-1.

Despite the noncompetitive loss, it was an extremely encouraging week for Osaka. And she’s hungry for more. 

“Oh, to be the No. 1 and to win a lot of Grand Slams,” she told the Associated Press when asked about her future goals.

She wasn’t done there.

“And to play Fed Cup and then to play the Olympics and to be happy,” Osaka added.

Those are some pretty lofty expectations, but there’s no reason to think that she can’t, at the very least, crack the Top 100 and stay there.

Azarenka was very impressed with what she saw from the teenager.

''She definitely surprised me with her play,” the former world No. 1 said, according to the AP. “...I think she has a lot of potential, a lot of power. I'm sure we will see a lot more of her.''

Azarenka will play Barbora Strycova, who upset Garbiñe Muguruza, in the fourth round.