Twenty-five-year-old Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open after defeating Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday. She faced off against No. 18 seed, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada Tuesday morning at 8 a.m., but fell to the young Canadian star with a 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-5 defeat.
Here’s what you need to know about the tennis star.
1. She’s Ranked 14th in the World
Suarez Navarro is currently at her highest ranking ever going into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. She is currently ranked at No. 14 in the world due to her successes in major tournaments starting in 2008. She has made it to the 3rd round or further in 11 out of 21 appearances in grand slam tournaments. She has a tendency to place runner up in most tournaments, with her only win two weeks ago at the Portugal Open.
2. She’s From the Canary Islands
Since she started playing tennis at the age of 9, Suarez Navarro has been supported by her father, Jose Luis, her mother Lali and her brother Jose Luis Jr. Her father had been on a handball team and her mother was a gymnast until she became a teacher. When Carla’s talent and passion for tennis was taken seriously in 2005 she began working with the Spanish Federation and moved to Barcelona to train in 2007 at an exclusive academy called Pro-Ab Team Tennis Academy under coach Xavier Budo and Marc Casabo.
3. She Defeated the No. 1 Player in the World At Her First Grand Slam
In 2008, Suarez Navarro made her first appearance in a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. She shocked the world when she beat the former No. 1 player in the world, Amélie Mauresmo of France in the second round 6–3, 6–4. Suarez Navarro went on to defeat Casey Dellacqua, a top player in Australia in the third round and No. 26 seed Flavia Pennetta in the fourth round 6–3, 6–2.
Suárez Navarro made it all the way to the quarterfinals her first year, losing that round to No. 3 seed Jelena Janković 6–3, 6–2. Her back-handed one hander ironically bares a striking resemblance to that of Mauresmo’s whom she had previously looked up to as the top tennis player in the world.
Of her 21 appearances in Grand Slam tournaments, this will be her fourth time advancing to the quarterfinals. If she beats Bouchard, it will be her first time ever in the semifinals round of a Grand Slam.
Click here to see the match stats.
4. She Has Beaten Venus and Lost to Serena
In Suarez Navarro’s 3rd ever Grand Slam tournament, she beat Venus Williams 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 defeat at the 2009 Australian Open, once again stunning the world of tennis. Although she had gone pro in 2003, she did not begin playing in Grand Slam tournaments until 2008.
Suarez Navarro told ESPN of Venus Williams after the big win:
“You must be aggressive during all the match because, if not, she’s going to take control of you.”
In 2013, she was shut out by Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the US Open.
She told ESPN of the match:
“When you play against Serena, you know these things can happen.”
5. Garbine Muguruza Was Her Doubles Partner
Muguruza has been Suarez Navarro’s only doubles partner over the span of her career. The duo placed runner up at the Mutua Madrid Open on May 10, 2014, dominating the clay court. If Muguruza defeats No. 7 seed, Maria Sharapova and Suarez Navarro shuts down No. 18 seed Eugenie Bouchard, the longtime friends will play each other in the semifinals of the 2014 French Open.