Two of the WTA tour’s rising young stars continued their impeccable clay-court form at the Serbia Open as Paula Badosa joined María Camila Osorio Serrano in the semifinals—both in straight sets.

Seeded No. 4 in Belgrade, Badosa weathered a near-72 hour delay due to persistent rainfall to ultimately ease past No. 7 seed Rebecca Peterson, 6-2, 6-4.

“When don’t play or can’t practice for that long, you never know what’s going to happen,” the Spaniard explained after the match. “Your body is a little bit stopped from the lack of routine, so before my match I was quite nervous because I really wanted the win and to do well in this tournament.”

The Volvo Car Open and Mutua Madrid Open semifinalist credited coach Javier Martí with keeping her focused and ready to make the final four of a third straight event, with a maiden WTA final in sight.

“He only wants me to give 100% of what I can give to every match I play. Regardless of what I have, even if it’s just a three out of ten, he just wants me to give it all on the court. He doesn’t care as much about winning or losing, but of course, we’re happier after a win!”

Getty Images & Chris Smith

Getty Images & Chris Smith


Badosa has been in revelatory form after a traumatic start to the season, one that left her hotel-bound with COVID-19 for nearly three weeks ahead of the Australian Open. The former Roland Garros junior champion scored the biggest win of her career over world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in Charleston, and backed up that result with an even more impressive run at her home tournament in Madrid.

Awaiting her in the semis will be either lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova or Hungarian qualifier Reka-Luca Jani, who famously pushed a young Sloane Stephens to three sets at the 2011 US Open—in what was both of their Grand Slam main draw debuts.

“I’ve never been in the final of a WTA tournament, so it’s something I’m going after. With three semifinals in a row, I’m having a good clay season. I just have to keep continuing like this, having fun. I’ll have a tough match tomorrow because mentally, it’ll be tough. I’ll try to play my best, and hopefully be in the final.”


Osorio Serrano Channels Idol Federer For Third Straight SF

Earlier in the day, Osorio Serrano matched Badosa’s streak with a third straight semifinal of her own, having won her first WTA title at home in Bogota and rode an eight-match winning streak into the semis of Charleston’s 250 tournament.

Starting the week as a qualifier, the Colombian teenager closed in on a possible Top 100 debut with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

“I’m feeling, of course, a little bit tired,” she said after her fifth win in a row. “I’m happy that I won so I’ll try to forget that tomorrow. I think I played a great match, and the whole week, I’ve been feeling better and better. Hopefully, I can play even better than today in my next match.”

An enthusiastic Roger Federer fan, the youngster laughed at the thought of giving her idol any advice on how to succeed on her favorite surface, and has been keenly attuned to his comeback in Geneva.

“I was so sad when I saw his match because I wanted him to win. Hopefully I can play at the Slams before he retires so we can be at the same Grand Slam together. Fingers crossed!”

Standing between Osorio Serrano and a second final of 2021 will be resurgent Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh; the former US Open quarterfinalist and fellow former US Open junior champion has scored some of the biggest upsets of the tournament with wins over No. 2 seed Yulia Putintseva and No. 5 seed Nadia Podoroska.