Unlikeliest of winners: Maria beats Pigossi in Bogota for the title

34-year-old mother-of-two Tatjana Maria triumphed over Brazilian Laura Pigossi in the final of the Copa Colsanitas in Bogotá last weekend, sealing her second WTA title and first in nearly four years.

German-born Maria overcame all the online betting odds that emerged at the start of the tournament to come through the qualifiers and emerge victorious in the unlikeliest of WTA finals. In a field that included the Colombian rising star Osorio Serrano, and current in-from Ukrainian youngster Daria Yastremska, both Maria and fellow finalist Pigossi came through as outside qualifiers to steal the limelight.

They may have been underdogs at the start of the week, but the two qualifiers did not disappoint on Sunday as they played out an entertaining three-set final that Maria edged 6-3 4-6 6-2 in front of a delighted crowd.

Maria is the only mother-of-two to win a WTA title this century, having only returned from maternity leave at the end of last August. It is the German’s second career title, having won her only previous tournament in Mallorca back in 2018. With Maria ranked No. 237 in the world, and opponent Pigossi currently sitting at 212, this was the first ever WTA final to be played between two players ranked under 200.

It was a final of steely defensive skill from Maria, against Pigossi’s aggressive, top-spin heavy shot making. Maria frequently utilised the slice off of both wings to unsettle her opponent and disrupt the rhythm of the rallies, but Pigossi seemed unfazed by these tactics as she continued to go for her shots throughout all three sets.

It was a high-risk, high-reward approach from the Brazilian. While landing 23 winners in total, compared with Maria’s 19, Pigossi ultimately ended up hitting more than twice her opponent’s number of unforced errors, with 30 to Maria’s 13. This, inevitably, was her downfall, as the German veteran took firm control of the third set, winning 6-2 after two grippingly close first stanzas.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old rising talent Camila Osorio of Colombia is left to rue a missed opportunity to seal her second ever WTA title. She was the leading seed in Bogotá, and would have fancied her chances at the start of the week as she performed well in early rounds, buoyed by the highly vocal support of her home crowd. It was not to be, however, as she lost in two very tight sets in the semi-final to eventual runner-up Pigossi.

Copa Colsanitas champion Maria, on the other hand, now boasts a 21-7 record for the season. With unexpected momentum on her side, the German 34-year-old will now look towards the challenger events on the European clay, with qualifying rounds for some larger tournaments a real possibility. Form and impetus are potent things in tennis, and perhaps this largely unknown veteran of the game can push on for one last moment of glory this season. On the evidence of her showing in Bogotá last week, I wouldn’t bet against it. Stranger things have certainly happened.

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