No. 19 Emma Navarro sweeps No. 2 Coco Gauff out of Wimbledon

League: Tennis

Posted on: 07 Jul, 2024 at 09:58 PM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 seed Emma Navarro continued her breakout season Sunday by dispatching No. 2 seed Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-3 at Wimbledon to reach the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career.

Navarro controlled the round of 16 match against her fellow American while winning in just 74 minutes. She will face seventh-seeded Italian Jasmine Paolini in the quarters in London.

Gauff, the reigning U.S. Open champion, has never reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals and was plagued by 25 unforced errors while accumulating just 12 winners. Her loss is a stunner, but Gauff said people shouldn't be surprised when a lower seed beats a higher one.

"Fans of the game are a little bit disrespectful when it comes to other players on tour," Gauff said. "Maybe the ranking isn't there. But the level is there. And they're here for a reason. They deserve their spot. There's no easy draw. There's no cakewalk or anything. This is competitive sport. We all want to win."

Navarro converted 3 of 4 break points and won all nine of her net points while reaching the final eight in just her seventh major.

"I can't really wrap my head around it right now," Navarro said. "Hopefully, sleep on it and by the morning, it will feel more real than it does right now. Just really proud of the match I played and the courageous tennis that I was able to play. It's unbelievable to be in this position."

Navarro, 23, won the NCAA women's singles championship at Virginia in 2021 and picked up her first WTA crown in January by beating Elise Mertens of Belgium in the Hobart International in Australia.

Her win over Gauff was her second over a No. 2-ranked player this year. She beat then-No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in three sets at Indian Wells in March.

Navarro also avenged a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Gauff in the Auckland semifinals in January.

"I think at that point in January, I wasn't really ready to play an opponent like that and I feel I've improved myself a lot since then," Navarro said. "I feel like I'm a different player now than I was then. I'm more comfortable being in these positions on a big stage like that."

Navarro is 3-0 all-time against Paolini, who advanced to her first Wimbledon quarterfinal when No. 12 Madison Keys retired because of a left leg injury with the third set tied at 5-5.

Paolini won the first set 6-3 before Keys won the second 7-6 (6).

Keys led 5-2 in the decider and was serving against Paolini, a French Open finalist last month, but could not close out the match. Paolini had cut her deficit to 5-4 when Keys left the court for a medical timeout and returned with her left thigh taped.

Her movement restricted, Keys saw Paolini win her fourth consecutive game for 5-5, and the American cried in pain following the game. After her opponent's ace for 15-15 in the 11th game of the set, Keys retired.

"Right now, I'm so sorry for her," Paolini told the crowd in her on-court interview. "To end the match like this is bad. It was a really good, tough match. A lot of up and downs. I feel a bit happy and a bit sad for her. It's not easy to win like that."

At the time the match ended, Keys led in winners, 35-26, but also had 39 unforced errors to Paolini's 26. Keys converted six of eight break-point opportunities, while Paolini cashed in on seven of 13.

"It was a rollercoaster," Paolini said. "I started really well, but she's a great champion. I was telling myself you never know in tennis. She retired, and I'm here with the win."

In another fourth-round match, Croatia's Donna Vekic defeated Spain's Paula Badosa 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in their first meeting on the WTA Tour.

Vekic, ranked No. 37 in the world, recorded four aces and 33 winners against No. 93 Badosa, who has battled back from a back issue since the start of the 2023 season.

A former World No. 2, Badosa had won consecutive matches just once in the first four months since returning to competition in January before playing at Wimbledon.

In the quarterfinals, Vekic will play New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun, who defeated British wild card Emma Raducanu 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Sun made 44 unforced errors while Raducanu had 21, but she also collected 52 winners to just 19 for her opponent. Sun also broke Raducanu's serve five times and won 23 of 28 points at the net.

"Oh, man, it was a great match against her," Sun said in her post-match interview. "I really had to fight tooth and nail against her.

"I'm just incredibly ... I don't even have the words right now."

--Field Level Media