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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Emma Navarro's monumental Indian Wells upset of Aryna Sabalenka earned her massive praise from the world No. 2. 

A fearless Navarro toppled the second-seeded Sabalenka 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 scoring the biggest win of her career to reach her first WTA 1000 quarterfinal.

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Hobart champion Navarro converted four of five break points, covered the court quickly, competed with calm confidence and used her forehand to unsettle the 2023 finalist. The victory vaults Navarro to a career-high rank of No. 20 in the live rankings.

Afterward, Sabalenka said Navarro is a Top-10 talent. 

"I think she can be—I mean, she's already in top. No doubt she's going to be in top for a while," Sabalenka told the media in Indian Wells. "Yeah, she just played different rhythm, more spin. Forehand, really great forehand. Overall I would say she's moving well and playing some different rhythms so you always have to adjust."

Showing shrewd court sense, Navarro hit her running forehand with accuracy. Though her first serve seldom exceeded 106 mph today, Navarro repeatedly used one of Sabalenka's favorite patterns against her—slicing the wide serve on the ad side to open the court for her forehand strike.

Showing guts, Navarro hit a key second-serve ace wide that helped her finish the match.

Sabalenka said Navarro beat her in the running rallies and calls her potential "really great."

"If your movement is not there, then you will always be off the rhythm and you'll be missing a lot of shots and making a lot of unforced errors," Sabalenka said. "That's what actually happened to me. I wasn't moving that great today, and that's why she forced me for all those unforced errors.

"But yeah, her potential is really great. I think she's already in the top. Yeah, I think she have this potential to be in top 10."

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty