WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck had great Junior Wimbledon experiences, even if their dreams came crashing down Friday. Navarro lost her singles semifinal match, and then she and Beck were eliminated in the doubles quarterfinals.
"It was an awesome experience overall. Each match posed a different challenge which helped me to develop my grass court game way more than it had been before these past few weeks," Navarro said.
Navarro started strong in singles but then came apart in the face of an amazing arsenal of unorthodox ground strokes by Daria Snigur of Ukraine. Navarro's failure to win any of the last nine games in a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Snigur might have been slightly influenced by her three straight lengthy singles matches this week in which she lost the first set each time.
This time, Navarro had a break point that could have put her ahead 3-1, but when the Charleston teenager did reach 3-3, Snigur took over with her powerful ground strokes.
Navarro appeared to be a little tentative on her ground strokes, leaving balls sitting up, enabling Snigur to control the court with her pinpoint accuracy and power.
"Full credit to Snigur. She is just in amazing form on the grass," said Peter Ayers, Navarro's coach. "Honestly, I feel like Emma played a terrific first set."
Snigur entered the Wimbledon juniors fresh from taking the singles title at the nearby grass-court Roehampton ITF junior tournament where Navarro suffered a first-round loss.
The Navarro-Snigur meeting on Friday was the rubber match of meetings in all three Junior Grand Slams so far in 2019. Navarro had won the last meeting in three sets in the quarterfinals of the Junior French Open after losing in three sets to Snigur at the Junior Australian Open.
This loss was especially disappointing for the top-seeded Navarro, who was hoping to win her first Junior Grand Slam singles title after finishing as runner-up at the Junior French Open. She entered Wimbledon with a No. 4 ranking among world juniors. Snigur is ranked 17th.
The disappointment continued in a 6-4, 6-3 doubles loss by No. 7 seeds Navarro and Beck to unseeded Kamilla Bartone of Latvia and hard-hitting left-hander Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia.
"I had two really tough matches, but I'm definitely going home a better player than when I came over here," Navarro said.
Navarro and Beck had been on quite a run in Junior Grand Slam doubles, starting with a semifinal showing in last year's Junior U.S. Open, a runner-up finish in the Junior Australian Open and a Junior Grand Slam championship at the Junior French Open.
"Doubles was tough. The opposing team served big, returned aggressively, and controlled the net," Ayers said.
Selekhmeteva seemed to be everywhere with her eager left hand, repeatedly poaching on serves to the backhand side to put away volleys and then drilling huge net-hugging forehands cross court when receiving serves.
"It might have been different if this was clay or hard courts," said Beck, who is headed off to the Duke tennis program in August.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com.