Osorio Feels The Love In Monterrey, Reaches Third Career WTA Final

Camila Osorio (photo: Abierto GNP Seguros)

MONTERREY/WASHINGTON, March 6, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Forty-fourth-ranked Camila Osorio reached her third career WTA singles final – all of them in the past year – thanks to her 6-4, 6-4 victory over sixth seed Nuria Párrizas Díaz of Spain in the semifinal round of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico Saturday evening.

It was the kind of performance that left the 20-year-old Colombian feeling good about her game. It put a big smile on her face, which she conveyed with enthusiasm toward her many fans at Club Sonoma, who yelled “Cam-i-la, Cam-i-la” after she secured her fourth victory of the week at the WTA 250 outdoor hard-court tournament in Mexico’s second-largest city.

The No. 5 seed Osorio from Cúcuta, Colombia, who won her first WTA title last April on clay at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogotá, is yet to lose a tour-level match in her career after winning the opening set. She also finished as a finalist in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Spain last October.

By the end of her hour and 29-minute victory, it put Osorio into Sunday’s title match against defending champion and No. 2 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who easily defeated unseeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, 6-1, 6-4, in 72 minutes. Fernandez hit 14 winners, broke Haddad Maia three times in four tries and outpointed her opponent 54-37.

“Today, it was a really tough match, I had played her before,” Osorio said during her on-court interview. Asked what was the difference between winning and losing, she said: “I just kept fighting.

“Honestly, I still cannot believe I am in the final. At the beginning of the year, it was tough for me. I had COVID, then I was injured and couldn’t play for a while. It’s unbelievable I’m in a final, again.”

After advancing by knocking off No. 1 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), Friday night, Osorio came into her semifinal match as the favorite against the 51st-ranked Párrizas Díaz, who was appearing in her first tour-level semifinal above the 125 level. Osorio also beat the Spaniard in the final round of last year’s Wimbledon qualifying draw. So, there was a bit of history between them. It required a good effort by Osorio to end an inspired run this week by Párrizas Díaz, who is expected to rise into the Top 45 when next week’s WTA rankings come out.

It took Osorio six set points to put away the first set 6-4, then each player was broken in their first two service games to begin the second set. From 2-all, there would be three more breaks of serve, two of them going in Osorio’s favor. The most important of them was in the final game of the match. At 15-40, with match point on the line, Osorio garnered a 16-shot rally with an emphatic backhand winner.

While Osorio won nine fewer service points than Párrizas Díaz, she also won 16 more return points than her opponent and finished on top in points won 70-63. She converted six of 16 break point opportunities while being broken four times.

By reaching Sunday’s final, Osorio is projected to move into the Top 40 next week.

Yastremska: From fleeing Ukraine to title match in Lyon

In a week’s time, Dayana Yastremska has gone from fleeing her war-torn homeland in Ukraine to playing for a WTA 250 singles title in Lyon, France. On Saturday, in the semifinal round of the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon, Yastremska defeated No. 2 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, in two hours and 31 minutes.

The 140th-ranked Yastremska won on her fourth match point opportunity after Cirstea broke the Ukrainian’s serve in the ninth game of the third set as she tried to close out the semifinal match. Then, Yastremska broke back in the next game and triumphed with a cross-court backhand winner that brought tears of joy to her eyes.

Yastremska, who finished with six aces but committed seven double faults – including one on her second match point – outpointed Cirstea 109-104. Her break of Cirstea’s serve in the final game of the match was her fifth in nine opportunities.

Now, Yastremska, 21, has reached her fourth WTA tour-level final and first in three years. It’s been a long-time coming, especially with what she’s gone through in the past week just to be able to play tennis.

“I need to think what I feel right now,” a flag-draped Yastremska said during an on-court interview that followed her victory and some autograph-signing with fans who lined the court near her bench. “I feel [like I’m] flying [somewhere] in the clouds because I don’t really realize I’m in the final [tomorrow].

“It was a really tough match. Third set, when I had match points then lost the game, I was crazy. I thought, ‘OK, I’m done, I’ve lost because I don’t have any more power.’

“Then, everybody was supporting me and I felt like you can do it!,” she added. “The crowd helps me a lot here. Because of you I am here still winning. … Merci beaucoup.”

On Sunday, Yastremska will faceNo. 8 seed Zhang Shuai of China. The 64th-ranked Zhang defeated No. 74 Caroline Garcia of France, 6-2, 7-5, in the first semifinal to reach her fourth career WTA final, and first indoors. Zhang outpointed 77-61 during the one-hour and 36-minute match at Palais des Sports de Garland.

Federer looking at late summer, early fall comeback

Roger Federer suggested on Saturday that his comeback from last year’s knee surgery will not be until at least late summer or early fall.

In an interview with Swiss broadcaster SRF, the 40-year-old Swiss superstar gave an update on what has become a lengthy rehabilitation. Federer was attending a women’s World Cup ski race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, a city where he maintains a residence.

“I am entering the phase in which I can start to think about the comeback,” Federer told SRF. “I had a very good MRI a few weeks ago. That made me very optimistic. …

“But it will take some time, until the end of summer, the beginning of autumn. That’s the time I am aiming for for my comeback. I am much better now. I was on crutches for two months. That’s why I had to start from scratch again.”

A real late-night fiesta in Monterrey

Fans who attended the Friday evening session at the WTA 250 Abierto GNP Seguros at Club Sonoma in Monterrey, Mexico were in for a real late-night treat. That’s because due back-to-back three-hour-plus quarterfinal matches during the day, the night session didn’t start until after 10 p.m. local time.

Thus, by the time No. 5 seed Camila Osorio of Colombia pulled off a come-from-behind upset of No. 1 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, winning 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), it was after midnight – and there was still another quarterfinal to be played.

Defending champion No. 2 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada, overcame a double-break down in the opening set and advanced over Wang Qiang of China, 7-6 (4), 6-4, in a match that ended at 2:45 a.m. local time.

By the time Quarterfinal Friday ended in Monterrey, not only was it already early Saturday morning, the four matches combined spread out over 11 hours and 44 minutes.

Lepchenko given four-year doping suspension

Varvara Lepchenko, 35, a former Top-20 player, received a four-year doping suspension by the International Tennis Federation after she tested positive fora banned stimulant during a tournament in 2021.

Lepchenko, who has previously represented the United States at the Olympic Games and in Fed Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup) competition, took the doping test after losing in the first round at the Hungarian Grand Prix last July.

What they’re sharing on social media

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“Quotable …”

“I never game up in any moment. I was 6-1 down, and I just kept on fighting, and I kep t grinding point by point. I’m really proud of that.”

Camila Osorio of Colombia, after coming back to upset No. 1 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), and advance to the Abierto GNP Seguros semifinals on Friday night.