BOGOTÁ, Colombia - In a week full of surprises at the XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas, one thing is now certain: come Sunday, the WTA will have a new title holder.
After the last of the seeds were knocked out on Thursday, quarterfinals day in the Colombian capital saw the only tournament winner left in the draw also bite the dust, as 2010 champion Mariana Duque-Mariño lost to Edina Gallovits-Hall. Duque-Mariño, who came from a set down to win her first two rounds, once again went the distance, but this time, against a fresher opponent on an extremely humid day, she finally ran out of gas, losing 76(3) 36 62.
Meeting Gallovits-Hall for a place in the final is the rapidly improving Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino. The Spanish teenager knows what it takes to succeed on clay, having won 10 ITF events on the surface and reached the quarterfinals in Marbella last April, and made short work of qualifier Paula Ormaechea, winning 63 60 in under an hour.
The other semifinal pits the youngest player left in the draw, 18-year-old Timea Babos, against the highest-ranked, World No.118 Alexandra Panova. Babos has belied her tender years with several mature performances this week; in the second round she defeated World No.64 Romina Oprandi and on Friday, breaks of serve at the start of the first set and end of the second saw her edge past Yaroslava Shvedova, 64 64.
"It was the toughest match of the week for me," Babos said. "I know Yaroslava played really well in the past days and is serving unbelievable. I knew my serve would be really important today so I'm happy I didn't even lose a service game. Today it was tough with the conditions, at some points it was hard to breathe as it was so humid."
Like Babos, Panova, who was taking on former World No.35 Karin Knapp, won a tight, serve-dominated quarterfinal, 64 64, and, afterwards, she was understandably delighted at reaching her maiden WTA semifinal.
"I'm really happy," Panova said. "Slowly I'm adapting to the conditions and I'm having so much fun on the court, people are coming to cheer me on and I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm starting to feel my game better and hopefully it's going to only improve."