Diane Barker (copy)

Diane Barker won her eighth world singles title in tennis at the ITF Women's 60 Senior World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

Diane Barker wins a world singles title one day. Two days later, her son, Matt Hane, wins a national title.

That may be coincidental, but the former Diane Gilruth has been winning titles since she was an All-American at the College of Charleston four decades ago. Matt was a star at George Washington University and is now regularly winning 35-and-over national titles.

Barker has just finished competing in the ITF Women's 60 Senior World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, first on the winning U.S. team and then  sweeping through singles to her eighth world singles title the second week.

"She had a great two weeks playing wonderful tennis," said Barker's husband, Jack. "The first week, she played in the No. 1 singles position and jumped in at doubles to win the decisive point in the championship match against the second-seeded French team. The (U.S.) team won 2-1 as she helped capture both points.

"Diane passed through a tough draw to meet one of her teammates in an all-American final (of the individual competition). After winning all her singles matches against the other countries' best, she now sits as the world's No. 1 point leader in the women’s 60s division."

Diane Barker was almost in awe of her own accomplishments. "I am not sure how it happened (the world titles) ... lots of practice, workouts, and my new added training, yoga. I'm just trying to stay injury free, so I had to add more stretching," she said.

She was almost as excited about Hane's success in men's 35 singles in the national grass courts in Philadelphia. "Matt won his title two days after I won, and, on his birthday," Barker said.

Hane is the captain again of the men's 35 U.S. Italia Cup team that will compete in Miami in October in the men's ITF world championships. Hane is the 37-year-old pro at the Country Club of Virginia.

Navarro in U.S. Open doubles

Charleston junior Emma Navarro crashed the U.S. Open main draw doubles party with hard-hitting Hailey Baptiste as her partner. The USTA announced the wild-card entry on Saturday.

Baptiste, who recently upended 2019 Volvo Car Open singles champion Madison Keys in Washington's Citi Open, was half of last year's doubles team that eliminated Navarro and Chloe Beck in the Junior U.S. Open doubles semifinals.

Navarro also will be one of the highest seeds in the upcoming Junior U.S. Open, quite likely the No. 1 seed as she was at Junior Wimbledon.

Right now, Navarro is the highest-ranked player on the Junior U.S. Open's acceptance list, which is based on her No. 4 ranking among world juniors.

The second highest-ranked player on the Junior U.S. Open acceptance list is France's Diane Parry, who also is a U.S. Open main singles draw entry.

Navarro obviously had an unlucky draw in the first round of the U.S. Open singles qualifying tournament, having to face 67th-ranked Elena Rybakina. It wouldn't be surprising to see this hard-hitting 20-year-old from Kazakhstan still playing in the main draw at the end of the first week.

Rybakina romped through three qualifying matches in six sets. She surprised the 18-year-old Navarro with her power.

"She was very tough," Navarro said. "She had a big serve and big ground strokes. It was definitely a different speed and pace than I am used to seeing in competition."

Navarro's reason for switching college commitments from Duke to the University of Virginia hasn't been publicized, but she said, "My mom went there (UVA) and my brother will be transferring there as well."

Navarro is a senior at Ashley Hall, but she will not be on the team this fall. Younger sister Meggie Navarro has joined the Ashley Hall team, however.

With sophomore Meggie and fellow Randy Pate Academy standout Abby Cotuna on the roster, Ashley Hall should be the class of SCISA tennis again and possibly the best girls team in the Lowcountry.

NOTE

Former University of North Carolina standout Hayley Carter is a second player from South Carolina to be awarded a wild card into the U.S. Open women's doubles draw. Carter grew up between Columbia and Hilton Head Island and is currently ranked No. 103 in the world in doubles. The tall 24-year-old won a pair of Junior Family Circle Cup titles in 2012-13.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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