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American Navarro beats Mertens in Hobart for first WTA title

HOBART (AFP) — Fast-rising American Emma Navarro upset two-time champion Elise Mertens to secure her first WTA title on Saturday, Jan. 13, with a battling 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win at the Hobart International.

USA’s Emma Navarro (AFP)

In their first career meeting, the 22-year-old outlasted the Belgian top seed over a grueling 2 hours 48 minutes to write another chapter in her burgeoning career.

This time last year, Navarro was ranked 149 but has since soared to a career-high 31, having also reached the semifinals in Auckland this month.

She is 8-1 this season heading into the Australian Open, where she will make her main draw debut against China’s Wang Xiyu as the 27th seed.

“I don’t know if I could put words to the emotions, but it’s been a lot of years in the making,” Navarro said.

“My coach and I have been together for eight years, I think. From where we started to now, it’s really crazy to think about.

“Probably six, seven years ago, I was hoping to be a decent college player, and that was going to be good enough for me. So to be here now… I guess just a testament to the work we’ve both put in.”

After taking the first set in just 35 minutes, second seed Navarro dropped the second as Mertens fought back.

The Belgian, who won back-to-back Hobart titles in 2017 and 2018, looked on track to take the third set and secure the championship when she held a 5-4 lead.

But Navarro won the next two games to swing the momentum back in her favor and closed out the match.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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