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Navarro Overwhelms Osaka To Reach Wimbledon Third Round

Jul 4th 2024

Navarro overwhelms Osaka to reach Wimbledon third round

Navarro routs Osaka 6-4, 6-1 in 59 minutes

Emma Navarro from the United States has achieved a career-high ranking of #17 and is the 19th seed in just her second appearance at the Championships. The 2021 NCAA champion secured her first career title at the start of the season in Hobart by defeating 2-time champion and former world #12, Elise Mertens. The twenty-three-year-old Charleston resident dropped just two games in her opening match at the All England Club.

Naomi Osaka from Japan returned to the WTA from maternity leave this past January. The former world #1 and 4-time grand slam champion is currently ranked #113 and received a wild card to compete at Wimbledon.

Although she has conquered hardcourts winning two majors in Australia and two in New York, she has struggled on clay and grass. The twenty-six-year-old has not progressed past the third round at the All England Club and in 2019 the last time she played, lost in the first round. While Osaka has much to prove on this surface, she undoubtedly is motivated to silence her critics.

This was their first tour-level meeting. Osaka won the toss and elected to serve. The former world #1 opened with an ace up the tee and held easily to 15 while Navarro struck two consecutive forehand winners to level.

Robert Prange/Getty Images

Osaka made 5/5 first serves including a 117mph ace up the tee on game point for 2-1 while Navarro hit two additional forehand winners for 2-2. Osaka opened the fifth with an unreturnable serve down the middle and held at love when Navarro overcooked the backhand return.

The American returned the favor with a blistering backhand crosscourt to hold at love to level. Osaka struggled out of the corners and gifted four consecutive unforced errors to dump serve.

Navarro serving with new balls reached 40-15 but faced deuce before consolidating the break with a well-struck serve up the tee. Osaka serving to stay in the set, pummeled her third ace down the middle and held at love for 4-5. Navarro hit an overhead smash and a fantastic forehand crosscourt to secure the set in thirty minutes.

Osaka served first in the second and though she hit two winners off the ground, she faced three deuce points, break point, and dropped serve when she netted a forehand off a backhand slice.

Navarro opened with a colossal crosscourt forehand winner and consolidated the break at love. Osaka donated three additional unforced errors and dumped serve for the second consecutive time.

The 19th seed moved effortlessly across centre court expertly mixing slice and topspin to confound her opponent. Transitioning seamlessly from offense to defense, the twenty-three-year-old struck two terrific backhand winners to consolidate the break for 4-0.

Osaka made 4/4 first serves including an ace up the tee on game point to hold at love. Navarro opened the sixth with a mishit forehand and faced deuce before holding for 5-1. Osaka serving to stay in the match soon faced triple match point and conceded it with another forehand error.

Navarro dictated and dominated her opponent in under an hour to reach the third round at Wimbledon in just her second appearance. With the centre court roof closed the young American won 82% of first and 57% of second serve points, converted 4/5 break points, and 4/4 at net.

Navarro was equally impressive when returning, neutralizing Osaka’s most reliable weapon by winning 41% of first-serve returns and 53% of second-serve return points. She struck sixteen winners to five unforced errors and did not face a break point. It was an outstanding performance from a supremely focused and poised young professional.

She will, however, face a daunting challenge in the next round when she takes on the Bad Homburg champion, Diana Shnaider. The twenty-year-old from Russia who plays left-handed, has ascended the rankings this season with two titles and sits at a career-high rank of #30.

En route to the third round, Shnaider dispatched former world #1 and 2021 Wimbledon finalist, Karolina Pliskova and 2017 US Open champion, Sloane Stephens.

This will be their third tour-level match, their most recent was a three-set semi-final thriller in Bad Homburg. Shnaider also was victorious this past May on clay in a three-set final at the Trophee Clarins-Paris. The stakes are now even higher on the lawns of the All England Club as they battle for the round of sixteen.