Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Britain’s Francesca Jones was beaten in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Copa Colsanitas by Tatjana Maria after a lengthy rain delay in Bogota.

World No 817 Jones had already upset seeds Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Laura Pigossi on her way to the last four and was aiming to reach her first WTA final.

However, the 22-year-old – who suffers from a congenital condition which means she has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on one foot and four toes on the other – found it tough going against defending champion Maria as the second seed broke early to open up a 3-0 lead.

Maria, the world No 66, broke again in the next game and looked on course to swiftly wrap up the first set. Jones, however, rallied with a break of his own in the seventh game and then held to reduce the deficit at 3-5, but his opponent served out for the set in 44 minutes.

At the start of the second set, Jones, who came through the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, produced an important hold and then broke Maria to lead 2-0.

The veteran German, though, quickly broke back in the next game and the set remained on serve at 4-3 to Jones when rain forced the players off court. As the wet weather set in, tournament organizers announced there would be no further play until at least 3.45pm local time.

When the match eventually resumed, it was Maria who took the upper hand again with a determined hold before then breaking Jones in the ninth game and serving out the match for a 6-3 6-4 victory.

Maria will face either Russian Kamilla Rakhimova, the fourth seed, or America’s Peyton Stearns in the final.

By cb2gp