Wimbledon 2024: Osaka’s comeback ended by on-fire Navarro

Naomi Osaka’s goal to improve her grasscourt game will have to wait for at least another 12 months after her Wimbledon comeback stalled in the second round following a 6-4, 6-1 walloping by American Emma Navarro that mercifully lasted only 58 minutes.

When the four-time Grand Slam champion returned to the tour in January following a 15-month maternity break, top of her wish list was to “do much better on clay and grass”.

Unfortunately for the Japanese superstar, she failed to match even her career-best third-round showings at the French Open and now at Wimbledon.

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She put in a rousing performance at Roland Garros as she almost pushed world number one and eventual champion Iga Swiatek over the edge, squandering a match point before perishing in the second round.

A month later, however, her second-round performance under a closed Centre Court roof was as lousy as the British weather as her game fell apart against the American 19th seed after she produced four erratic errors to get broken in the seventh game of the first set.

Navarro did not let her opponent’s status distract her from the job at hand and she kept up the relentless pressure in the second set as she raced into a 3-0 lead.

The popular Japanese player, competing at Wimbledon this week for the first time since 2019, was given a roaring ovation from the crowd when she finally registered a game to avoid a second-set whitewash but that was only a brief reprieve and she bowed out by slapping a forehand long.

As Navarro celebrated her best-ever run at the All England Club, the 143,000 pounds ($182,150) she picked up for reaching the third round here for the first time will be considered small change for a player who is the daughter of an American billionaire.

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