Naomi Osaka's title defence was over in third round with a 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-4 loss to Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old from Canada who is ranked 73rd and never had been this far in Grand Slam competition.

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada celebrates after her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on day five of the 2021 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, US  on  September 3, 2021.
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada celebrates after her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on day five of the 2021 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, US on September 3, 2021. (Reuters)

Canadian 18-year-old left-hander Leylah Fernandez has stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

The shocking upset on Friday of the Japanese third seed, a four-time Grand Slam champion who had won her previous 16 Slam matches, sent Fernandez into a last-16 matchup against German 16th seed Angelique Kerber.

Osaka, who had won her prior 16 Grand Slam matches, was foiled in a bid for her third US Open crown in four years and the first back-to-back titles since Serena Williams in 2014.

She also had a major meltdown on court during the final moments of the second set after she was unable to hold serve for the victory.

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'I knew I was able to win'

"From the very beginning, right before the match, I knew I was able to win," Fernandez said. "Thanks to New York fans. They helped me get the win."

Osaka, who hadn't played since Monday thanks to a second-round walkover, took the first set in 37 minutes on her sixth ace.

But Osaka was broken in the 12th game of the second set, an errant forehand sending her to a tie-breaker.

That began a sequence of repeated racquet smashing by Osaka as she was humbled in the tie-break to force a third set.

"I wanted to stay on court a little longer," Fernandez said. "One hour was just not enough for me."

Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadoran father and Filipino-Canadian mother who turns 19 on Monday, hit a forehand winner to break Osaka to start the third set.

Osaka saved two break points to hold in the third game and from there both held to the finish, which came after two hours and four minutes, sending Fernandez against German 16th seed Angelique Kerber in her first Grand Slam fourth round appearance.

"It'll be a battle," Fernandez said. "We're just going to have fun. I'll put on a show like I did tonight."

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Tearful Osaka wants 'to take a break from playing'

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, wiping away tears, said she will take an indefinite break from playing tennis.

"I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match," Osaka said in a news conference after losing to Fernandez.

Wiping away tears, she said, "I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while."

With that, she put on a face mask, rose from her chair and ended the session.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies