Emma Navarro landed a berth in at least the U.S. Open qualifying tournament, and she will play for the real thing on Sunday on the Tennis Channel.
Yes, a berth in the singles main draw of the U.S. Open is at stake on Sunday in San Diego in the final of the USTA's Billie Jean King Girls 18 National Hard Courts Championships between Navarro and No. 2 seed Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, Calif.
The U.S. Open qualifying berth was wrapped up on Saturday when Navarro scored a dominating 6-0, 6-2 victory over No. 1 seed Hailey Baptiste of Washington, D.C., who less than two weeks earlier was the talk of her hometown's Citi Open after she posted a victory over 2019 Volvo Car Open champion Madison Keys.
Of course, world's No. 4 junior Navarro already is entered in the Junior U.S. Open main draw in singles and doubles.
Volynets outlasted 15-year-old No. 13 seed Katrina Scott of Woodland Hills, Calif., 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, in Saturday's other semifinal. Navarro lost to Volynets in three sets in the semifinals of the 2018 Easter Bowl.
"Katie's a very good player. It'll be a tough match, but I'm excited," Navarro said.
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The No. 3 seed at San Diego, Navarro dominated from the start, winning the first seven games against the go-for-broke power of Baptiste, who has climbed to No. 267 in the WTA's world rankings.
"I'm super happy with my match today," Navarro said. "I know Hailey didn't play her best tennis, but I was able to push back against her serve and big ground strokes well which forced her to make some errors."
Baptiste only delayed the Navarro celebration by holding service in her first two service games of the second set by serving and volleying, and coming up with several athletic high volleys to win a pair of long games.
From 2-2 in the second set, it was all Navarro again as the hard-hitting, but error-prone Baptiste failed to earn a game point in the last four games of the match. Navarro ended the match with an easy forehand smash at the net to break Baptiste at 15-40.
"Having been on the court with Emma for so many hours, I am well aware of what she is capable of," said Peter Ayers, Navarro's coach. "Emma's conviction won the day. She knew what she wanted to accomplish and set about doing it one shot at a time."
The Tennis Channel broadcast of the final will be from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org