Five Things You Need To Know About Rising Tennis Star Emma Navarro

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Emma Navarro

After defeating world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, 22-year-old American Emma Navarro turned in the greatest performance of her young career and will face Maria Sakkari in her first WTA 1000 quarter-final.

In the previous round, Gaël Monfils was blown away. Emma Navarro, the 22-year-old American, the sneaky favorite despite her world ranking of 23rd, had eliminated the Frenchman’s partner Elina Svitolina. Monfils had this to say about her: “She plays well. She’s got a big forehand and runs everywhere!” On Wednesday, the New Yorker produced the greatest performance of her young professional career, eliminating world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka (6-3, 3-6, 6-2) to reach her first WTA 1000 quarter-final.

Here’s what to know about the rising tennis star. 

Navarro’s resounding victory builds on a stunning start to the season, which has seen the American surpass world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the number of wins in 2024! With 18 victories, Navarro is ahead of Poland’s Elena Rybakina (17) and won her first career trophy in Hobart (WTA 250) at the start of the year, before reaching the third round in Melbourne, her best Grand Slam record. Of course, this is not to be taken lightly: Navarro has won seven tournaments, while the Pole has competed in just five.

Emma Navarro already has a title to her name in her young career, as she was NCAA champion in 2021 with Virginia in her first year at university, beating Spain’s Estela Perez Somarriba in the final (6-3, 6-1). This title earned her a wild-card entry into the main draw of the US Open, where she made her major debut (losing in the first round to Christina McHale).

Wednesday’s victory over Sabalenka in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells was, of course, the greatest performance of her career. It was the second Top 10 title to be pinned to her trophy cabinet, after Maria Sakkari (world No. 9), whom she dominated in San Diego last September. It is this same Greek player that Navarro will meet again on Thursday in the quarterfinals in the Californian desert.

Having turned professional in 2022, after just two years in college, Emma Navarro has not skimped on the amount of work and hours spent on the courts in 2023. With a strong emphasis on physical strength and stamina to compensate for her lack of size (1.70 m) and power, Navarro traveled the world last season, playing a total of 88 matches at all levels in 29 tournaments. For comparison, the world no. 1 played 79 last year.

Less than a year ago, Emma Navarro was ranked 100th, and she was probably less well-known than her father, Ben Navarro. An American businessman and founder and CEO of Sherman Financial Group, Ben is also deeply involved in tennis, owning the Charleston and Cincinnati tournaments. With this prestigious victory, the daughter is now making a name for herself and is likely to break into the Top 20 next Monday.

This post is originally from L’Équipe