Emma Navarro, Alex Michelsen win singles titles on USTA Pro Circuit
Americans Emma Navarro and Alex Michelsen both reached new career-high rankings after their title runs last week on the USTA Pro Circuit. Navarro won the ITF World Tennis Tour W100 in Charleston, S.C., to move up to world No. 33, while the 19-year-old Michelsen entered the ATP's Top 100 for the first time behind his success at the ATP Challenger 75 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Navarro, 22, more than lived up to her billing as the top seed in her hometown. She lost just seven games in her four Charleston victories, in addition to receiving a walkover from compatriot Hailey Baptiste in the semifinals. In Sunday's final, she stormed past third seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary, 6-1, 6-1.
Since a first-round exit at the US Open, Navarro has posted a 19-3 record that includes a WTA 500 semifinal run in San Diego and another USTA Pro Circuit title in Tyler, Texas. That run has lifted her from outside the top 60 into contention for a seed at the 2024 Australian Open. The New York City native is set to make her debut in Melbourne next season after competing in the other three majors in 2023 and notching her first Grand Slam main-draw win at Roland Garros.
After a standout 2023 season at the ITF level that included five titles and two additional finals—as well as a WTA 125 final in Bastad, Sweden—Navarro will seek to translate that success onto the WTA Tour full-time next year.
Joining Navarro in the winners' circle in Charleston was the all-American doubles duo of Hailey Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe. The unseeded champions defeated Uzbekistan's Nigina Abduraimova and France's Carole Monnet, 6-4, 3-6, 13-11, in the final.
Michelsen's Knoxville title run was far more complicated, compared to Navarro's clinical success. The third seed won four of his five matches in three sets, including his semifinal victory against fellow American Tennys Sandgren and a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win in an all-U.S. final against Denis Kudla.
The title lifted Michelsen 15 places to a career high of No. 99 in the ATP rankings.
“I was focused on [making the Top 100] but I had bad weeks and I honestly didn’t think it would come this quickly,” Michelsen told commentator Mike Cation after the final. “After last week in Charlottesville, I played a bad match and I didn’t think I’d be here. But I fought the entire week and I made it. I’ve worked for this, so it feels good."
That milestone is reward for a breakout season for the American. He won his first Challenger title in July in Chicago and immediately backed it up by winning his first four tour-level matches—including a semifinal win against John Isner—to reach the Newport ATP 250 final.
By claiming his second Challenger title, Michelsen kept the Knoxville trophy in American hands. The event has now been won by an American in six of the past seven years, with Chris Eubanks (2021), Ben Shelton (2022) and Michelsen the three most recent champions.
American Cannon Kingsley also took home a trophy in Knoxville, teaming with Venezuela's Luis David Martinez to beat the all-U.S. tandem of Mac Kiger and Mitchell Krueger, 7-6(3), 6-3, in the doubles final.