Amid rain delays and drizzly conditions, Camila Osorio scored a milestone win in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, upsetting No.5 seed Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4.
The result is the first Top 5 victory of the Colombian's career and moves her into the last 16 of a WTA 1000 event for the first time. Her only other win over a Top 10 opponent came against Elina Svitolina in the first round of Tenerife 2021.
A leg injury sidelined the former No.33 for two months this year, and her ranking fell to No.115 in April. But Osorio has come back strongly on clay, reaching the third round of Madrid last week to return to the Top 100, and going at least one round better in Rome. The 21-year-old's record this season now stands at 13-6 (11-5 in WTA main draws).
Osorio avenged a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Garcia in their only previous meeting, which came in the semifinals of Lyon on the Frenchwoman's home turf in February. Garcia has now taken five losses in 2023 to players ranked outside the Top 50.
Next up for Osorio, with a quarterfinal place at stake, will be No.12 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated No.17 seed Magda Linette 7-5, 6-4 in a first-time meeting. Haddad Maia led 5-3 in the first set and 4-0 in the second but had to withstand valiant attempts to overturn those deficits by Australian Open semifinalist Linette.
Highlights: Haddad Maia d. Linette
It will be a first-time encounter between the two South American players. It will also be the first time two South Americans have faced each other in the last 16 (or deeper) at WTA 1000 level since 2009 and the deepest that two South Americans have played at WTA 1000 level or above since Clarisa Fernández defeated Paola Suárez in an all-Argentinian quarterfinal at Roland Garros 2002.
How the match was won: Garcia had overpowered Osorio three months ago on the slick indoor courts of her hometown. But the World No.100 wasted no time in demonstrating how the damp clay of Rome could reverse that dynamic.
The first set alone saw her pick off Garcia with superb lobs, out-maneuver the WTA Finals champion with brilliant defense and pull off a clever sliced passing shot to counter Garcia's net attack.
On the other side of the net, Garcia was showing frustration with the conditions and making increasingly impatient mistakes, ultimately tallying 38 unforced errors to Osorio's 11. At 4-4, Garcia squandered game point with a double fault, and two points later had netted a smash to drop serve.
Osorio, meanwhile, was turning in a clutch performance. She saved seven out the eight break points she faced, including three en route to serving out the first set.
An eighty-minute rain delay at 1-1 in the second set changed little about the match's trajectory. Osorio captured the decisive break for 4-3 after a slew of Garcia forehand errors and saved one more break point as she served out the win three games later.
In Osorio's words: "She played unreal tennis in Lyon, and I had the chance to compete again. Beating her is unreal.
"She's a super-aggressive player, always trying to step into the court. Whether you're serving or returning you're always feeling the pressure. I was just thinking about what I could control. I was going to see a lot of balls passing by, but the things I could control were moving my serve around and being really ready for the first shots. Serve and legs, return and legs, try not to go back, try to step in."