Junior Wimbledon | Navarro stays on track as Mutavdzic falls
The last British girl in the draw, Matilda Mutavdzic, put up a brave fight against America’s Alexa Noel but went down 6-4 6-4, at Junior Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The 15-year old Brit, who lives in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, was wild-carded into the draw and had beaten Sada Nahimana and Daria Frayman to progress at SW19, describing reaching the stage as the highlight of her career so far.
Noel, who is two years her senior, however, took the victory in a match which included 10 breaks of serve.
The No 10 seed, advanced to her first junior slam quarter-final on No 5 Court, one of the larger outside courts, with plenty of support from those waiting to get into Court 3 next door or exiting Show Courts 2 or 12.
After a while, Noel begin to put her hands over her ears whenever Mutavdzic won a point, anticipating the coming roar.
“It was hard,” said Noel, who turns 17 in September. “I love crowds, and obviously she’s at home, but it was difficult for me just because she hit a few shots, I hit a few unforced errors, but the crowd was still going crazy. But it’s something you have to deal with.”
Despite all the crowd support, Mutavdzic was eventually worn down by the slicing and drop shots that Noel alternated with big serves and forehands.
Down 5-2 in the second set, Mutavdzic saved 3 match points and broke Noel, then held to put the pressure back on the American, but some excellent serving delivered the win for Noel.
“I think I went for way too much,” Noel said of failing to close out the match in that 8th game. “I could have easily just kicked a serve and play the point, hit a forehand, but for some reason I was like, hit an ace. And I didn’t do that at all.”
Noel will face Priska Nugroho of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
For the 3rd consecutive match, Nugroho came from a set down to win, beating 14-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, 4-6 6-3 6-3.
In an all-American affair, top seed Emma Navarro lost the first set to 15-year-old qualifier Katrina Scott 6-0, but she took control of the match early in the second set, and went on to take the next two sets 6-1 6-1.
Navarro had to save 2 break points to open the second set, but the match really turned when Scott went up 40-0 in the set’s second game, but could not secure it, with the top seed finding her form and rolling on from there.
The first set featured outstanding grass court tennis from Scott, who made 10 winners, many of them coming via her drop shots, and only 4 unforced errors.
Navarro made a rash of uncharacteristic errors, 14 to be exact, with only 3 winners, but she turned that around, and Scott, her right thigh heavily taped, was unable to sustain the level she had displayed in the first set.
Scott, who played all 3 grass events, went 10-3 in that stretch, which included qualifying for Wimbledon.
Navarro will play No 6 seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan, who advanced when Elli Mandlik retired with an ab injury after dropping the second set 6-4, having won the first set 6-3.
The other quarter-final in the top half features 16-year-old qualifier Polina Kudermetova of Russia against Roehampton champion Daria Snigur of Ukraine.
Kudermetova upset No 3 seed Qinwen Zheng of China, 6-2 6-1, while Snigur took out Robin Montgomery from the USA, 6-7(4) 6-1 6-2.
There is an all-French quarter-final coming up on Thursday, after No 4 seed Diane Parry defeated Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong, 6-2 6-3, and unseeded Elsa Jacquemot beat Mai Nirundorn of Thailand, 7-5 6-0.
Parry looked like a veteran as she disposed of Wong to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final.
The Frenchwoman has a single-handed backhand, which she compliments with ample variety, and arrived in Wimbledon after a strong semi-final showing at Roehampton.
“I like grass because it’s different, we have to do more things on the court,” she said. “We have to go on the net, slice a lot. My game is like that.”
In May, Parry won her first main draw match in the Roland Garros professional event, beating WTA 102 Vera Lapko in straight sets.
Her WTA ranking has since risen well over 102 spots to a career high of 330.
Parry lives and grew up so close to Roland Garros that she would commute to compete at one of the biggest sporting events in the world on her electric scooter.
“In the junior, I will try to win a Grand Slam,” she said. “I will try to play the masters and improve. Now I’m ranked #330 so I will maybe try to go under #300.
“I think after this tournament, I will try to play more professional events.”
All of the four girls quarter-final matchups are a first ITF Junior Circuit meeting.