Tennis-Navarro stuns Sabalenka to reach Indian Wells quarters

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 3:50 PM

(Reuters) – American Emma Navarro stunned world number two Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 3-6 6-2 to record the biggest win of her career and reach the quarter-finals of Indian Wells for the first time on Wednesday.

Navarro absorbed Sabalenka’s powerful serve and converted four of her five break-point opportunities to defeat the reigning two-time Australian Open champion in windy conditions.

Navarro came out flying to grab the first set before Sabalenka raised her level in the second to force a decider.

The even-keeled Navarro kept her cool in the final set, fending off a break point and smacking a forehand winner for a crucial service hold and a 4-1 lead.

Navarro, seeded 23rd, broke the hard-hitting Belarusian for a fourth time on match point to set up a meeting with either ninth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece or Frenchwoman Diane Parry in the quarters.

“I’m feeling really good,” Navarro said in an on-court interview in front of a supportive crowd.

“It’s never easy coming out and playing an opponent like that who is so experienced and so talented. She made it really tough on me today but I was able to play some good tennis in the big moments.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone for coming out and cheering me on today.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis)