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Barty defeats Navarro at Wimbledon, praises on-court rival as a ‘fighter’

Ashleigh Barty. Photo: Wimbledon

England, June 29 (MNN) World number one Ashleigh Barty defeated Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-1 in one hour and 45 minutes on the Centre Court on day two of the Wimbledon 2021 here on Tuesday.

A year after she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and enduring round after round of chemotherapy, Navarro – the former world number six — played her second match since declaring herself cancer-free in April.

Having applauded Navarro off the court, all Australian Barty’s thoughts in victory were for others, including Simona Halep, unable to take the traditional Tuesday afternoon slot accorded the defending champion.

“With all my heart I wish Simmo was here to be able to do it herself,” said Barty with typical grace. “She’s earned the right. For me to be given the honour when I haven’t fully deserved it, it was a privilege. I couldn’t be more proud to be out here on this beautiful court.

“It was incredible to be able to share this experience with Carla. She’s a fighter, an incredible competitor, a lovely person and genuinely you won’t find one bad word about her. I wish both of us could have won. She’ll be very sorely missed.”

It surely was no accident that Barty hung back as the two walked on court, allowing the 33-year-old Canary Islander to receive the crowd’s salute.

Umpire Emmanuel Joseph spoke for everyone on Planet Tennis as Navarro arrived at the net for the coin toss.

Amid the murmur of the Centre Court crowd, Joseph smiled and told her quietly: “Good to see you.” It was the perfect acknowledgment.

After 11 previous visits, Suarez Navarro had already decided this would be her last Wimbledon.

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