Cinderella Story Continues At Copa Colsanitas

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (photo: Copa Colsanitas)

BOGOTÁ/WASHINGTON, April 11, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Both Tamara Zidansek and Maria Camila Osorio Serrano are chasing after same prize this week at the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas in Bogotá, Colombia, on the red clay at Country Club de Bogotá: winning their very first WTA tour-level title.

Each has shown they are worthy of lifting the champion’s trophy on Sunday. The fifth seed Zidansek from Slovenia is the only seed among the eight that started the tournament, who has dodged defeat this week in the high altitude of this South American capital city. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old wild card Osorio Serrano, who is a former junior World No. 1, has been the Cinderella story all week in reaching Sunday’s final in her home country without losing a set.

In Saturday’s semifinal round, the 93rd-ranked Zidansek from Slovenia advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over No. 146 Viktorija Tomova of Bulgaria, in which she hit 22 winners and came from a break down in the final set, while Tomova committed 40 unforced errors. Then, the 180th-ranked Osorio Serrano, a native of Colombia, beat French qualifier Harmony Tan, ranked 190th, 6-1, 6-2. She outpointed Tan 72-48 and aided her cause by covering seven of 14 break-point opportunities while her opponent committed 46 unforced errors.

Zidansek, who will be facing Osorio Serrano for the first time, is excited to be playing in her first WTA singles final since Nürnberg in 2019. The 23-year-old from Postonja, Slovenia, admitted to Tennis TourTalk during a Saturday afternoon interview that she’s not had “such good” results during the past year.

“Obviously, no one was playing for a majority of the last year and it was hard to get back into a rhythm for me,” Zidansek said. “So, I needed a few consecutive matches and tournaments to get back into the rhythm. So, I’m really happy with that. All the work is starting to kind of come together.”

Zidansek admitted the conditions are challenging due to the altitude and said “if you’re not completely focused, one ball, two balls, one point, two points go by and it’s 1-4. I just kept telling myself to keep fighting, keeps staying in the match, be there for every point and I manage to turn it around.”

Asked what it would mean to win her first title, Zidansek said: “It would mean a lot, of course. It’s what we are working toward. Winning my first WTA 250 title would be amazing.”

Meanwhile, among the many accomplishments that Osorio Serrano has earned include: her first win over a Top 100 player when she defeated No. 7 seed Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic in the second round followed by a win against a former Top 50 player, Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele, in the quarterfinals.

Osorio Serrano, who is fluent in both Spanish and English, has been a much-in-demand player to interview this week after each of her wins. After her semifinal victory, during her virtual press conference, she said: “I feel super happy to be in the final. I was really hoping to be here and to play in the final. I really don’t feel any pressure and I feel like it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy, to play my best and to do what I’ve been doing the whole week.

“It’s my chance to show my tennis, show my best and I hope that I can play well in [Sunday’s] final.”

News & noteworthy

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano‘s ranking of No. 180 makes her the lowest-ranked singles finalist on the WTA tour this season. She’s the third player from Colombia to play for the Bogatá title joining Fabiola Zuluaga, who is a four-time champion (1999, 2002-04), and Mariana Duque-Mariño, who won in 2010.

Franco-American team wins Copa Colsanitas doubles title

The Copa Colsanitas doubles title was won the unseeded Franco-American team of Elixane Lechemia (ranked 137th) and Ingrid Neel (ranked No. 148), who won their first WTA crown together. They beat No. 3 seeds Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany, 6-3, 6-4. The winning team needed match tie-breaks to survive the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

Kudermetova last seed remaining at Volvo Car Open

No. 15 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia is the last seed remaining at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C. On Sunday afternoon on the Althea Gibson Club Court at LTP-Daniel Island, Kudermetova and her opponent, 91st-ranked Danka Kovinic from Montenegro, will both be in pursuit of winning their first WTA tour-level singles title.

Kudermetova earned her berth in the title match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 71 Paula Badosa of Spain, who 24 hours earlier took out World No. 1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinal round. The 38th-ranked Russian has enjoyed her week on the U.S. green clay where she’s not dropped a set all week while string together five straight victories over unranked opponents.

Against Badosa, Kudermetova slugged 28 winners to Badosa’s 15, plus the Spaniard committed 22 unforced errors. The Russian converted four of six break points while being broken just once in five tries by Badosa.

The 23-year-old Kudermetova started 2021 by reaching her first singles final at the season-opening hard court tournament in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., in which she beat Badosa before losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the title match.

After Saturday’s semifinal triumph, Kudermetova admitted “I expected a tough match, and I think it was a really tough match. Paula plays really well, she has a lot of weapons, she served unbelievable today. But I think today, I was more consistent than I played [against her] in Abu Dhabi. I followed my plan to just fight and be aggressive today.”

When Tennis TourTalk asked Kudermetova what it would mean to win her first WTA tour-level title, the 23-year-old Russian said: “Of course, if I win [Sunday], I think I will really be happy and proud of myself. It’s my dream to win a first title. Right now, it’s my dream to win the first title, and I will do everything for a title.”

• Prior to the Kudermetova-Kovinic singles final, the Volvo Car Open doubles final will take place between No. 1 seeds Nicole Melichar of the United States and Demi Schuurs from the Netherlands versus unseeded Czech Republic duo Marie Bouzkova and Lucie Hradecka. Melichar and Schuurs are going after their second title of the season and third as a team, while this is the first tournament that Bouzkova and Hradecka have teamed together.