María Camila Osorio Serrano last left New York City as the US Open junior champion. Two years later, the Colombian youngster is an established member of the pro circuit, from winning her first WTA title to becoming firmly ensconced in the Top 100 after making her main-draw debuts at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Even after a maiden US Open win over Ivana Jorovic on Monday, Osorio Serrano can switch from fierce competitor back to bubbly teenager, laughingly recalling a near-miss with idol Roger Federer at Wimbledon, where she reached the third round.

“I saw him once in the player hotel, but I was thinking like, I should act like everything is as usual, and that this is a normal thing, being here with Roger in the same hotel,” she said after the 6-2, 6-2 victory. “He was busy, so I didn’t stare at him too much; I was just walking by. But still I felt like, here I am, walking next to him!”

Osorio Serrano has been an ardent Federer fan since her junior days, but has quickly gained her own enthusiastic fan base at the US Open.

“It’s amazing, the Colombians are amazing. For me, it’s so fun, and usually I enjoy playing tennis, doing what what I love. But for people there supporting me, what else can I ask for? I’m really happy that they came here to support, and afterwards, they were asking for pictures and autographs. It was all so much fun, and I’m really happy that they’re here with me. I hope they can keep coming to the next matches because I need that support. Every point, they were screaming and yelling, it was unreal!”


The 19-year-old credited the crowd energy with giving her the boost she needed to succeed on hard courts. After playing a solid match against Aryna Sabalenka at SW19, Osorio Serrano went without a win at the Olympics or the Western & Southern Open—though she felt her game coming back through a close defeat against Viktorija Golubic in Chicago.

“In Cincinnati, I couldn’t even feel the ball! In Chicago, I felt a little bit better but I knew I needed to prepare even more, train harder, because I need to get ready for the US Open; that’s the tournament I’m expecting to play well. It was tough and I was trying not to think too much, and just practice: play, run, hit every ball and start having the feelings on court. It was coming back to me, and when I got here, I was trying to think of it like any other tournament, although I’ve been here already in the juniors.

“Once I got to the court and saw all the Colombian fans, I just felt all the support, and felt like ‘I’m here, these people are here with me and this is mine!’ That’s what I was thinking the whole week, that this is my chance and I have this opportunity so I just have to take it.”

Standing between Osorio Serrano and a second straight Grand Slam third round is an in-form Ons Jabeur, the No. 20 seed who edged past Chichago runner-up Alizé Cornet in straight sets. Regardless of where the fortnight takes her, the Colombian has already enjoyed a season to remember.

“I couldn’t imagine at the beginning of the year, when I was playing the last round of qualies in Australia, I was thinking, like, ‘I’m there, I’m about to play my first Slam.’ And then I lost! For me, that was tough, but everything after that has been all blessings. I could play the next three Slams in the main draw. I’m really happy for everything and thankful for these opportunities.”