emma

Emma Navarro (left) and Chloe Beck advanced to the quarterfinals in Junior Wimbledon doubles on Thursday. James Beck/Special to The Post and Courier

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — Emma Navarro is moving up the ranks at Wimbledon.

The Charleston teenager, already the top seed in Junior Wimbledon, moved into the atmosphere of a tennis  stadium here for the first time Thursday for the singles quarterfinals.

The shift to a bigger venue didn't start out well for Navarro, who lost the first four games for the second straight day. But then Navarro adjusted her hair band as she has done the last two rounds after losing the first sets, dug in and dominated sixth seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan in the next two sets for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

It was similar to the round of 16 against young Katrina Scott where Navarro lost the first set, 6-0, then yielded only two games the rest of the way. 

"I definitely didn't play my best today, but I'm happy with my composure throughout the first set and how I was able to bounce back after losing a tough set," Navarro said.

"She (Kawaguchi) didn't play as well in the second and third sets as she did in the first. She made a few unforced errors and mistakes on important points which made the difference in the match."

Later Thursday, Navarro and Chloe Beck staged a third-set comeback in doubles to advance to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win over the wild card British team of 14-year-old Matilda Mutavdzic and 16-year-old Holly Fisher. Last month in Paris, Navarro and Beck won the Junior French Open doubles title.

Navarro will face a familiar opponent in Friday's singles semifinals when she plays Daria Snigur of Ukraine. Navarro lost to Snigur in the Junior Australian Open and then beat her in the Junior French Open.

"I'm proud of Emma for finding her way through today," said Peter Ayers, Navarro's coach. "I credit Emma's opponent for taking it to her from the first point.

"Emma fought back into the first set, and despite eventually losing built momentum to carry into the second set. While Emma played too many points on her heels, her composure and steadiness ultimately got the job done."

The second set was the key as Navarro fought off two break points in the third game and then went to two deuces in the fourth game.

Kawaguchi, who couldn't miss with her powerful serves and ground strokes in the first set, never altered her game. As she sensed the match was getting away from her, she ripped forehands and backhands past the baseline with loose strokes. She ended up with 60 unforced errors against 31 winners.

In the doubles match, Navarro and Beck trailed 4-3, but won the last three games. Facing a break point in the 10th game, Navarro came up with a service winner to get to deuce, then closed out the match with a crafty lob winner over the British team.

Beck and Navarro will play their doubles quarterfinal on Friday against Kamilla Bartone of Latvia and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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