BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Prior to the start of this week's XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas, Alexandra Panova had not made it past the first round of a WTA event for nearly 17 months. Four wins later, she now stands on the verge of her first career title.
The latest, and most comprehensive, of these victories came against Hungarian teenager Timea Babos in Saturday's semifinal. Neither player had been this deep into a WTA tournament before, but it was Panova who settled the quicker, reeling off four games in a row to pick up the opening set. Despite an early service break for Babos, the second followed a similar pattern, with Panova closing out a 62 63 win after a little over an hour on court.
"I started really well. I found my rhythm early and stayed strong mentally the whole match," Panova said. "Everything I needed to do, I executed. I also stayed away from her strengths and put pressure on her.
"I'm satisfied with my game today. Every day I feel more confident so it's easier for me to play and hopefully tomorrow is going to be an even better day for me."
The second semifinal, like the first, pitted youth against experience, with 19-year-old Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino taking on former World No.54 Edina Gallovits-Hall. However, this time it was the teenager who triumphed, as Arruabarrena-Vecino produced her best tennis of the week to see off the in-form Romanian, 64 63.
"My confidence has been growing from my other wins and today I played really well," Arruabarrena-Vecino said. "Edina also played very well today but I think I followed through on everything I hoped to do. Everything turned out great."