Cinderella Ending For Osorio Serrano At Copa Colsanitas

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (photo: Copa Colsanitas)

BOGOTÁ/WASHINGTON, April 12, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano‘s first WTA title, won in her home country of Colombia, was like a fairy tale right out of Disney’s Cinderella. Her 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 5 seed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia was filled full of struggle but very much rooted in reality. After two hours and 48 minutes, there was a happy ending for the 180th-ranked Osorio Serrano, and a lot of positive energy felt among both competitors. They shared a heartfelt hug at the net. Nothing but respect for these two.

Just moments earlier, the 19-year-old wild card from Cúcuta, Colombia, located about 400 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Bogotá, where this week’s WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas took place, dropped to her knees and buried her face in her arms – perhaps kissing the red clay that she so mastered this week – after securing championship point. After Osorio Serrano picked herself up off the ground, she crossed herself and blew a kiss toward the sky. The television cameras captured this lovely montage of images, and it was a fitting conclusion to an exciting title match.

Osorio Serrano, who lost only one set en route to winning the Copa Colsanitas title, became just the third Colombian to win the Bogotá tournament in its 23-year history. She will be forever linked to the other Colombians who came before her: four-time champion Fabiola Zuluaga (1999, 2002-04) and Mariana Duque-Mariño, who won in 2010.

Taking center stage, Zidansek and Osorio Serrano, a former junior World No. 1 and 2019 US Open girls’ titlist, were unlikely opponents. Zidansek arrived at Sunday’s final on the Country Club de Bogotá center court as the only remaining seed following a week filled with upsets, while Osorio Serrano received a wild card into the main draw and promptly – round-by-round – took apart all comers: Sachia Vickery, No. 7 seed Tereza Martincova, Stefanie Voegele, Harmony Tan and, finally, Zidansek.

Osorio Serrano garnered championship point on her first try at the conclusion of a 12-point game after saving five break points. Give Zidansek due credit. The 23-year-old, 93rd-ranked Slovenian never gave up. She just couldn’t find an effective answer to Osorio Serrano’s tenacity for coming up big when it mattered most – whether it was Osorio Serrano hitting one of her 22 winners or breaking Zidansek’s serve, which she was successful doing in seven of 17 opportunities. At times, the match was topsy-turvy and unpredictable, other times it was riveting pure popcorn entertainment.

Between the two finalists, they combined to play 250 points (131 points were won by Osorio Serrano, 119 points were won by Zidansek), plus Osorio Serrano hit 22 winners and made 87 unforced errors, while Zidansek’s numbers were 22 and 90. Osorio Serrano converted seven of 17 break points, while Zidansek won six of 25 break-point opportunities.

Zidansek maintained a great sense of pride during her virtual interview with Tennis TourTalk, and talked willingly – and with no bitterness – about the title that eluded her. She said: “I was out there fighting, trying to do my best. She played a great match, Camila. It was really tough out there. We played three long sets. I made, maybe, too many unforced errors. I was in the moment, trying to go for my shots. I was fighting. I tried. I will take many positives with me from this week.”

During her lengthy and well-attended virtual press conference following her title victory, Osorio Serrano, who became the lowest-ranked WTA champion since Margarita Gasparyan won Tashkent in 2018 while ranked No. 299, said: “I played a really great match against Tamara, and I didn’t know how I turned the match.

“I lost the first set and I was a little bit tight, so I still cannot believe I won.”

Looking back, Osorio Serrano, who has received a special exemption into the main draw the WTA 250 MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston on green clay the begins today, said:

“With this tournament, my calendar is going to be more open, I’ll have more options to play bigger tournaments. So, I’m super, super happy with this win. And, of course, that I’m home, with my family, with my friends, with my fans from Colombia.

“That was my dream, and kind of a goal, to win the tournament.”

By the end of an almost-hour-long virtual interview session, in Spanish and English, Osorio Serrano was still full of energy and enthusiasm. She summed up her feelings simply:

“It’s been an unreal week for me. I still cannot believe that I won the title,” she said.

Believe it, Maria Camila. Cinderella dreams do come true.

News & noteworthy

According to the WTA website, the Maria Camila Osorio Serrano-Tamara Zidansek final easily was the longest final of the 2021 season. At two hours and 48 minutes, it broke the previously longest final of the season by 40 minutes set at the Phillip Island Trophy event in Melbourne that won by Daria Kasatkina over Marie Bouzkova in February.