Emma Navarro: US star’s Wimbledon run ended by Italy’s Jasmine Paolini

CNN —

US tennis star Emma Navarro’s dream Wimbledon run was ended on Tuesday as Italy’s Jasmine Paolini earned an emphatic 6-2 6-1 victory in the quarterfinals.

The 28-year-old Paolini, who had never won a match at Wimbledon until 10 days ago, needed just 58 minutes to convincingly dispatch Navarro and become the first Italian woman in history to reach the last four in SW19 in the Open era.

“It’s unbelievable, just unbelievable,” Paolini said in her on-court interview. “It’s amazing to get the win on this court, on this special court. I’m so happy to be in the semifinals, I don’t know what to say at the moment. Grazie.

“It’s so special, it’s a dream to be here in this position to be in the semifinal. I was watching finals when I was a kid on this court and it’s strange to be here to get the win and get to the semifinals in Wimbledon.

“I feel so happy and I have to say I played a really good match. She’s a tough opponent, I lost with her three time in the last year,” added Paolini, who will play Donna Vekic in the semifinals.

Navarro broke Paolini in only her second service game to open an early 2-1 lead after some tight opening exchanges.

However, that was as good as it got for the 23-year-old American. From 1-2 down, Paolini rattled off five straight games to take the first set.

The Italian was equally ruthless in the second set. With the score at 1-1, Paolini once again powered through to win the next five games to secure victory in some style.

Navarro was full of praise for Paolini, reflecting that the Italian was “a totally different player” from their previous meetings.

“Tough to feel like I was playing such good tennis for a while there, made a run, then I just faced a really, really tough opponent today that played lights out and didn’t give me anything,” Navarro told reporters.

Paolini made history for Italian tennis by reaching the Wimbledon semifinals. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Until this year, Paolini had never even won a WTA match on grass, but 2024 has been a season like no other for the 28-year-old.

She reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in January – then her career best performance in a grand slam – before going on to reach the French Open final last month, where she was beaten by Iga Świątek.

Despite the defeat, Navarro will be buoyed by her Wimbledon campaign.

The 23-year-old beat reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff – her teammate in the upcoming Paris Olympics – in straight sets in the fourth round to cement her best run at a grand slam.

“I played the best tennis I’ve ever played in my life this tournament,” Navarro told reporters.

“It’s really exciting to know I have that level inside of me. I know I’ll keep improving on it. I know this isn’t the last time I’m going to be in the quarterfinals of a grand slam.”

Navarro’s form at this year’s Wimbledon follows what has already been an impressive season for a player who only turned her full attention to professional tennis in 2022.

The American reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year, before progressing to the fourth round at the French Open.

Navarro claimed her first WTA title at the Hobart International in January and has risen from 149th in the world at the start of last season to her current position as No. 17 in the WTA rankings.

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