HOBART, Australia –  Former Virginia women’s tennis player Emma Navarro picked up the first WTA-level title of her professional career on Saturday (Jan. 13) at the Hobart International in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Navarro, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, defeated top-seeded Elise Mertens 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the final.

“I don’t know if I could put words to the emotions, but it’s been a lot of years in the making,” Navarro said. “My coach and I have been together for eight years, I think. From where we started to now, it’s really crazy to think about.”

Navarro reached the Auckland semifinals last week before notching her maiden final and title this week in the Tasmanian capital. She is 8-1 this season heading into 2024’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

With Saturday’s win, Navarro becomes the second straight American to prevail in Hobart, after Lauren Davis won the title last year. Former world No.12 Mertens won back-to-back Hobart titles in 2017 and 2018.

Navarro has a career-best No. 31 world ranking heading into her Australian Open main-draw debut next week. She is the No.27 seed in the draw and will face China’s Wang Xiyu in the opening round in Melbourne.

The 2021 NCAA Singles Champion had previously won seven professional titles, all at ITF-level tournaments, including two W100-level titles. The Hobart International is a WTA 250-level tournament.