Emma Navarro shocks Coco Gauff, Sinner on a roll at Big W

Jannik Sinner and Emma Navarro in Wimbledon
Jannik Sinner and Emma Navarro in Wimbledon (PC: Wimbledon/X)

Height, reach, wing span and that desire to go for ‘the kill’ in a big match, American Emma Navarro, the 19th seed, tore the formbook to shreds as she dumped second seed Coco Gauff out of The Championships at Wimbledon on Middle Sunday.

Coco flavour has been the there for a while in women’s tennis. In a match between two Americans, where sparks flew, it was unknown and unsung Emma who showed poise and purpose on the big stage to pull off a 6-4, 6-3 win to enter her maiden quarter-final at Wimbledon. This was a triumph against all odds, as Coco is well known, a favourite and blessed with more tennis assets on the court.

For those who have witnessed tennis rivalry on court with Americans as the combatants in it, this match did produce great moments, if you go simply by the scoreline. But then, the key was to absorb the pressure, play the big points well. At five feet and seven inches, Emma Navarro is ideal height for tennis. She has sufficient reach, as defined in shoulder “wing span,” since players have to lunge and stretch for some shots. Perhaps, it was Emma’s day she ensured everything went her way by not indulging in any kind of theatrics. To rip the US Open champion Coco Gauff was big for a maiden entry into the quarter-final stage.

Not long back, in the harsh summer of Auckland before the Australian Open in January 2024, Emma Navarro had lost to Coco Gauff. That was hard court and this was grass, as different as chalk and cheese. In the end, Emma showed more court presence and a cool head to script a which has made many tongues wag. After all, the buzz at Wimbledon is over Emma Raducanu, a Briton, who is desperate to make a name for herself. The first names may be the same, but Emma with the Navarro surname is now more popular.

Emma Navarro has played hard college tennis and risen to this level. At the collegiate NCAA, players are put through hard schedules and get drilled well. Yet, the shift to professional tennis is a big one where the American showed the second seed Coco a thing or two in playing without noise.

“Feeling really good,” said Emma Navarro at her post-match press conference. “Played some good tennis today, for sure. Faced a really tough opponent, a Grand Slam champ. … I’m excited to keep playing,” she added.

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Jannik Sinner in action in Wimbledon 2024
Jannik Sinner in action in Wimbledon 2024 (PC: Wimbledon)

If Emma spoke with maturity, Coco Gauff was upset with her own coaching staff present in her box near the court. Fact is, Coco has some kind of a mental block at Wimbledon, like Iga Swiatek, who had lost on Saturday. Yet, what was baffling was Coco running out of ideas and wanting more inputs from her coaching staff – Jean-Christophe Faurel and Brad Gilbert. Since 2023, a player’s team can give advice from the stands at Wimbledon.

How this kind of coaching helps is not certain, since it is the player who has to execute the stokes, forehand and backhand and tame the rival. “We had a game plan going in. I felt that it wasn’t working,” said Coco Gauff later. “I don’t always ask for advice from my box. Today was one of those rare moments when I felt I didn’t have the solutions,” said a frustrated Coco Gauff. The best quote from her was: “Today I don’t think we were all in sync.” If this is going through Coco’s head, be sure one odd coach may end up getting fired soon.

Young Jannik Sinner caught the eye in the men’s section as the Italian needed just three sets to destroy Ben Shelton and enter the last eight. As World No.1, Sinner has been in news through 2024. To some, an Italian making it so big is surprising but he has worked hard for it. A rebuilt serve, roaring confidence, the first Italian to become No.1, Sinner has many stories.

What is most crucial is he has worked hard to achieve this exalted status in men’s tennis. To have piloted Italy to a Davis Cup win and then perform without looking jaded in 2024, Sinner is a class act. It’s not easy to play with the roof rolled over on Court 1, when it is raining outside at Wimbledon.

The conditions change and hitting the tennis ball hard means imparting more power. Yes, Sinner is supremely fit and strong and could go for the jugular against an opponent who has been in a destructive mode this fortnight. Big match, big temperament, Sinner showed American Ben Shelton how importantly he executes the return against the bazooka serve.

“I’m very happy to close it in three,” said Sinner after the match. Not a natural player on grass, the Italian showed he could adapt well against a big server. “In these kind of matches they can be very long. We want to win but we want to make a show for all the fans,” said Sinner, whose posters are there all over, even at Wimbledon.

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