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Jasmine Paolini makes history for Italy with dominant quarter-final victory

Paolini softened the blow for Italian sport after Jannik Sinner’s defeat by reaching a first Wimbledon semi-final.

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Jasmine Paolini kept the Italian flag flying at Wimbledon by thrashing Emma Navarro to reach the semi-finals.

Centre Court was still reeling from the defeat suffered by Italy’s poster boy and world number one Jannik Sinner, at the hands of Daniil Medvedev, when Paolini entered the fray.

The 28-year-old seventh seed duly dispatched American Navarro 6-2 6-1 to become the first Italian woman to make the last four in SW19.

“It’s amazing to get the win on this special court and I’m so happy to be in the semi-final,” she said.

“It’s so special, a dream to be here in this position. I was watching finals on this court when I was a kid, it’s strange to be here.”

Before this year Paolini had never won a match on grass, or gone beyond the second round of a major tournament.

But she was a surprise runner-up at the French Open last month and has proved that run was no flash in the pan by standing on the brink of a second final in a matter of weeks.

Jasmine Paolini and Emma Navarro shake hands
Jasmine Paolini and Emma Navarro shake hands (John Walton/PA)

Navarro has also been flying this fortnight having already accounted for Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff, and had beaten Paolini in their previous three meetings.

The New Yorker drew first blood, the breaking serve to lead 2-1 in the opening set.

But Paolini, visibly irritated at herself, hit straight back to embark on a run of six games in a row, wrapping up the opening set and holding at the start of the second.

Jasmine Paolini hits a forehand
Jasmine Paolini hits a forehand (John Walton/PA)

Navarro stopped the bleeding in the next and then began unleashing her fearsome forehand to bring up a break point.

It was an encouraging game from Navarro, but Paolini wriggled out of it and from that point onwards the 19th seed did not get another sniff.

A statement victory was wrapped up in only 58 minutes and a semi-final against Donna Vekic, the world number 37, awaits.

Emma Navarro hits a forehand
Emma Navarro was well beaten (John Walton/PA)

Navarro said: “She was a totally different player today than when I played her in the past.

“I felt like in our previous meetings I was the aggressor, I was the one controlling points, getting ahead at the beginning of points, then controlling the rallies, too.

“I felt just the opposite of that today. I felt like she was just on top of me from the very first point.”

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