Osorio: Her Tennis Game Seems Headed In Right Direction

Camila Osorio (photo: Abierto GNP Seguros)

MONTERREY/WASHINGTON, March 4, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

It’s been nearly a year since Camila Osorio won her first WTA tour-level event at the Copa Colsanitas in her home country of Colombia.

Now, the 5-foot-4-inch, personable 20-year-old from Cúcuta is enjoying the windfall that accompanied her triumph on clay in Bogotá. It happened on a sunny Sunday afternoon last April, in front of an enthusiastic crowd, when Osorio was a 180th-ranked wild card who made good. It immediately earned her a wild card into the main draw of the MUSC Health Women’s Open, where she reached the semifinals. Soon after, she was a semifinalist on clay in Belgrade, and later qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon and won a couple of rounds before losing to No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka. Osorio went on to finish the 2021 season with a respectable 35-17 win-loss record in all competitions, which included starting the year playing ITF events, and achieved a year-end ranking of No. 55.

Following a bout with COVID-19 and a first-round setback in Melbourne to two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in the opening round of the year’s first major, Osorio’s ranking has continued to climb – she’s reached a career-high of No. 44. A fifth seed and quarterfinal berth in this week’s WTA 250 Abierto GNP Seguros outdoor hard-court event are the latest proof that her game seems headed in the right direction.

This week, Osorio, a former junior No. 1, has strung together a pair of straight-set wins. First, she beat No. 94 Magdalena Frech of Poland, 6-3, 7-6 (6), then advanced over 208th-ranked wild card Marcela Zacarías of Mexico, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

With near 100,000 followers on Instagram, Osorio regularly uses social media to convey her post-match thoughts in lieu of always being asked to give on-court interviews. For instance, after defeating Frech on Monday, Osorio penned (as translated from Spanish into English): “We return to this beautiful place. Thank God for this game, let’s go for more in round two in Monterrey.” Then, upon defeating Zacarias Wednesday, she exclaimed: “Go! We are in quarters! Happy with this match. Thank God, one more step!”

Along with No. 69 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, Osorio is one of only two South Americans currently in the WTA’s Top 100. She’s using the experience that winning the Copa Colsanitas has afforded her into improving her overall game. Whether it’s been receiving valuable wild card entries into main draws or, as her ranking climbed steadily, being seeded in tournaments such as this week in Mexico, Osorio is gaining wider recognition both on and off the court.

Last October, in her final tournament of 2021, Osorio earned her first Top 10 win over Elina Svitolina en route to gaining her second WTA tour-level final in Tenerife, Spain. As it happens, Osorio and the top-seeded Svitolina will clash again on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Mexico’s second-largest city of Monterrey, where the Ukrainian won the title two years ago. Thursday night, Svitolina secured a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 victory over 103rd-ranked Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova. She rallied to win the final six games of the match, overcoming 61 unforced errors by hitting 37 winners and breaking Tomova’s serve seven times in 19 opportunities.

Will good fortunes repeat for Osorio? Stay tuned, anything’s possible.

Barty announces she will skip Indian Wells, Miami

On Friday, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty announced from Australia that she has withdrawn from both of the upcoming WTA 1000 events, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., which begins on Wednesday, and the Miami Open presented by Itaú, scheduled for later this month. Barty has been idle since winning the Australian Open in Melbourne at the end of January.

“Unfortunately, my body has not recovered the way I’d hoped after the Australian Open and I have not been able to adequately prepare for Indian Wells and Miami,” Barty said in a statement, quoted by the WTA website. “I don’t believe I am at the level necessary to win these events and as a result I have decided to withdraw from both tournaments. I love these events and am sad not to be there competing but getting my body right must be my focus.”

According to the WTA, the three-time major champion Barty said she hopes to return in time to represent Australia at the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying event, which begins April 15. Australia plays a home tie against Slovakia.

“My aim is to represent my country at the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup event in April,” Barty said. “After missing the BJK Cup last year, I can’t wait to wear the green and gold again.”

Djokovic should be able to play Monte-Carlo, Roland-Garros

Reigning French Open champion Novak Djokovic will be permitted to defend his singles title after the French government announced that it will end mandatory masking indoors and COVID-19 vaccination pass requirements on March 14.

Thursday’s news paves the way for Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, to play in both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (April 10-17) and Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5) provided there is no change in French protocol.

“The situation is improving thanks to our collective efforts,” said French Prime Minister Jean Castex,  quoted by L’Equipe.

Earlier this year, Djokovic missed out on defending his Australian Open singles title. He was deported from Australia after his visa was cancelled because he was unvaccinated.

Yastrzemska, nervous and emotional, reaches Lyon quarterfinals

Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska has reached the quarterfinals of the WTA 250 Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon in France, after the 140th-ranked wildcard defeated wild card Cristina Bucsa of Spain, 6-2, 6-3, Thursday evening. Next, she will face No. 5 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy on Friday afternoon.

Yastremska’s victory over Bucsa was her second in three days and came a week after she and her 15-year-old sister Ivanna fled war-torn Ukraine via boat to Romania and later flew on to France. The sisters received a wild card into the doubles draw and lost in the first round on Monday.

“Today definitely was a little bit easier with my emotions,” Yastremska said in a televised on-court interview after her second-round win, draped with a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag around her shoulders. “I could keep them under control, so I’m very happy with that. 

“Yesterday, I tried to recover myself as fast as possible to prepared for my match today, and I’m still very nervous because I really want to win the matches for my country. This tournament is a very emotional for me, but I’m very happy with the win today.”

What they are sharing on social media

Billie Jean King / Proud of the WTA 

Leylah Fernandez / No war …

“Quotable …”

“It has been a tough few weeks at home in Australia and around the world. I send all of my thoughts and best wishes to everyone in Queensland and New South Wales who have been affected by the devastating floods. To the people of Ukraine, especially my peers in the tennis family, we are all thinking of you and hope for peace.”

– World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, in a statement Friday announcing she had withdrawn from both the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open in South Florida.