Naomi Osaka rues swift Wimbledon exit while Coco Gauff marches on

When Naomi Osaka returned to the Tour in January, six months after giving birth to her daughter, she said she did not expect to hit top form until later this summer, on the hard courts. On Wednesday, after impressing in her first-round win at Wimbledon, she was undone, beaten 6-4, 6-1 by the American No 19 seed, Emma Navarro. For Osaka, the US hard courts ­probably cannot come soon enough.

“I’m excited to go back on hard courts but I’m a bit disappointed because I wanted to do really well and I put a lot of time into it,” the former world No 1 said. “But there’s always next year.”

Grass has always been a troublesome surface for Osaka, who reached the third round on her first two visits in 2017 and 2018 but who lost in round one in 2019 and had not played here since. Against Navarro, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season, she began well but faded as the American roared through to the third round.

All four of Osaka’s grand slam triumphs have come on hard courts – two at the US Open and two at the ­Australian Open – and the 26-year-old has shown enough to suggest that she will be a threat in New York. She had match point against Iga Swiatek at the French Open, the only player who came close to threatening the eventual champion, and her on-court body language has been much more positive than in recent years, ­during which she has been open about ­mental-health problems.

Navarro always looked likely to be a tough opponent. A leading junior, she chose to go to college in the US, now a well-versed route to the professional circuit, and emerged physically and mentally better-equipped to handle the rigours of the Tour. She won her first title in Hobart in January, made the fourth round at the French Open and though this is only her second Wimbledon, the 23-year-old was good value for her win.

View image in fullscreen Emma Navarro won her first tour title at the Hobart International in January. Photograph: Robert Prange/Getty Images

“Naomi’s obviously a great player, it’s great to have her back on tour and she’s been playing some great tennis on tour,” Navarro said. “But I wanted to get to the win today, I played some good tennis at times. It was my first time on Centre Court at Wimbledon, it doesn’t really feel real. I’ve been having a lot of fun on grass, it’s been the theme of my time on tour, just trying to enjoy myself.”

Coco Gauff was enjoying herself enough during her 6-2, 6-1 win over the Romanian qualifier Anca Todoni that she snuck more than a few looks at the serve clock. The Gauff serve has been problematic at times – before the French Open she was hitting several double faults per match – but she has been working hard to iron out the kinks and has also adopted a new attitude.

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View image in fullscreen The US Open champion Coco Gauff overcame a troublesome serve hitting 124mph in her match with Anca Todoni. Photograph: Rob Newell/CameraSport/Getty Images

“I think I’m just going for it more and accepting the misses,” said the 20-year-old, who sent one down at 124mph. “I think today I had a really low first-serve percentage in the first set and maybe in the second it got higher. When I go for it overall it’s more winning for me on my serve. I just have a lot of confidence in my return game that makes the serving a lot easier. I know I can get the power when I need to. I’m just trying to focus on continuing that and not losing confidence in it.”

The Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who reached the semi-finals last year, came through a tough match with Magda Linette of Poland 7-5, 6-7 (9), 6-3 while Danielle Collins, the American No 11 seed, beat Clara Tauson of Denmark 6-3, 7-6 (4).

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