BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia reached her first WTA semifinal since 2015 on Friday, moving into the final four of the Claro Open Colsanitas after the scintillating run of Colombian teenager Emiliana Arango stopped due to retirement, 6-1, 1-0, ret.
"I’m really happy that I made it to a semifinal, because it was a very long time for me to even pass the first round of a WTA tournament," Schmiedlova gleefully exclaimed to the press afterwards. Her first-round victory was her first WTA-level main draw win since the 2016 BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.
Arango, the 17-year-old wild card ranked No.510 in the world but a junior stalwart last year, thrilled her home nation crowd with her first two WTA-level singles wins en route to the quarterfinals. However, former Top 30 player Schmiedlova used her vast experience to outplay the youngster in the first set in half an hour, before Arango retired following the first game of the second set.
"I’m really happy with the win, even [though Arango] didn’t finish it, but I really think I played well," said Schmiedlova. "I did a few mistakes, especially with the serve, but it was a good set. She is really, really talented and she played great, but I felt confident today on court. I really like to play on clay, and I got used to playing here in this altitude, so I think that today, I was maybe better."
It was the second match for both players on the day, as Schmiedlova and Arango had to win their second-round matches earlier on Friday. Both players claimed their early-morning victories in straight sets. "It’s not easy to play here because of the weather, but we can’t do anything about it," Schmiedlova concluded.
Wonderful driving volley from Anna Karolina Schmiedlova! #CopaWTABogotá pic.twitter.com/iArE1Jqp5F
— WTA (@WTA) April 13, 2018
Schmiedlova got off to a flying start in the match, with her signature forehand blasting winners from all over the court. The Slovak broke the teenager in her first service game to lead 2-0, and then claimed a second break at love for a 4-0 lead, ending that game with a forehand passing shot to set up break point, and a backhand service return winner to convert it.
With an excited crowd behind her, Arango finally got on the board in the next game, taking one break back in a game where Schmiedlova served two double faults. Unfortunately for the wild card and her supporters, that would prove to be the Slovak’s only misstep all match.
Schmiedlova returned to a double-break advantage directly afterwards, taking the 5-1 lead to serve for the set. Another forehand winner clinched the opening frame for Schmiedlova, who had 12 winners to only seven unforced errors during that set. By contrast, Arango had only two winners, while committing 11 unforced errors.
Emiliana Arango retires with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova leading 6-1, 1-0 at the @CopaWTABogota pic.twitter.com/E6cWzTeiwh
— WTA (@WTA) April 13, 2018
The second set started no better for the up-and-comer, who reached the semifinals of the US Open junior event last summer. Arango quickly fell behind 0-40 in the first game of the set, and although she fended off two of the break points, a backhand long on the third gave Schmiedlova an immediate headstart.
Arango then called for the trainer during the change of ends, and as precipitation started to return to the rain-plagued event, the fiery teenager decided she could not continue, and shook hands with Schmiedlova, who is surely using this showing to eye a return to the Top 100.
Schmiedlova will now face either No.7 seed Ana Bogdan of Romania or Chilean qualifier Daniela Seguel in the semifinals, although another rain delay in Bogotá begun immediately after Schmiedlova advanced, postponing the results of other matches even further.