Lowcountry native scores major tennis upset at Wimbledon

There is a new tennis star on the rise. Charleston native Emma Navarro achieved the biggest Grand Slam victory of her career July 7 with an upset over world No. 2-ranked Coco Gauff on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
And, “Emma the Great” made it look easy. 
Navarro, the fastest rising player on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour and perhaps the planet, needed only 74 minutes to dispose of Gauff, 6-4, 6-3. The victory gave Navarro her first appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Not too shabby for a player who just last November was competing in an ITF W100 tournament in Mount Pleasant and was on the wrong end of a decision to Goff in Auckland in January.
“Feeling really good,” the 23-year-old Navarro said in her post-match press conference. “Played some good tennis today, for sure. Faced a really tough opponent, a Grand Slam champ. ... I’m excited to keep playing.”
The victory over Goff, the reigning U.S. open champ and Navarro’s Olympic teammate, marked only the fourth time since 2000 that an American woman defeated a WTA world No. 2 at Wimbledon, joining the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, and Allison Riske.
It was the 33rd victory of the year for Navarro, who is currently ranked 17 in the world. These wins more than doubled last year’s win total, but more importantly, it gave Navarro one of the spots in Wimbledon’s Elite Eight.
Navarro, who won the 2021 NCAA championship as a member of the University of Virginia tennis team, will go up against a somewhat familiar foe in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, No. 7 seed Jasmine Paolini, who was the Roland Garros runner-up in June. Paolini advanced with a victory over Madison Keys, who retired in the third set of a competitive match. Navarro has played the Italian three times in the last nine months and is undefeated.
“I can’t wrap my head around it right now,” Navarro told a worldwide television audience. “Hopefully, I’ll sleep on it, and it will feel more real than it does right now.”
It was Navarro’s second victory over a world No. 2. She defeated Aryna Sabalenka earlier this year at Indian Wells in California.
Navarro, who didn’t face a breakpoint in the second set, was perfect with her work around the net. She was 9-for-9 at the net while the 20-year-old Gauff was 8-of-12.
Navarro’s victory over Gauff was the latest in an impressive run on the green-grass courts of Wimbledon. She opened play with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over China’s Qiang Wang and followed that up with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over former first place world champ Naomi Osaka.
In the third round, she dropped the first set to Diana Shnaider, but rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
That set up the match with Gauff, which produced, arguably, her biggest victory. Navarro celebrated with a mild fist pump as her family savored the moment from the stands.
Navarro called Centre Court amazing.
“Probably my favorite court I’ve ever played on, the fans, the atmosphere. Just having my family and team here to watch me. It’s just so special.”

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