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At the Net: Rising star: Camila Giorgi

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It's been a while since we've talked about a young rising Italian women's tennis star, but things may be changing, thanks to Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi is a 22-year-old who has yet to title on the WTA, but she found her way into her first-ever tour final last week at a clay court event in Poland. The youngster wound up losing to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in a more-than-three- hour battle in Katowice, but it was still just the type of result the Macerata, Italy, native, who now resides in France, was looking for. Not the loss in the final, but the trek into it. Cornet, who saved a match point against Giorgi en route to the championship, also beat the Italian in the second round at the Australian Open back in January.

Note: Giorgi ousted a pair of Top-20 players last week (fellow countrywoman Roberta Vinci and Carla Suarez Navarro).

The 5-foot-6 Giorgi is your typical European player, a baseliner who's not afraid of clay. She's a very aggressive two-fisted star who plays like a female Andre Agassi -- a very good defender with a ton of pop on her groundstrokes.

Following her promising result in Katowice, Giorgi is up to a career-high No. 54 in the world after opening 2104 ranked 93rd on the planet.

This weekend, she hopes to play some Fed Cup tennis for reigning champion Italy, which has traveled to face the Czech Republic in a semifinal showdown in Ostrava. Giorgi is part of an Italian team that also features world No. 11 Sara Errani, a 20th-ranked Vinci and world No. 50 Karin Knapp, so it's hard to say if CG will see any action against the Petra Kvitova-led Czechs.

Note: Giorgi won in her Fed Cup debut in February when she whipped American Madison Keys in Italy's 3-1 victory over the host United States in a quarterfinal clash in Cleveland.

Giorgi, like everyone else on tour, is preparing herself for the clay court French Open, where she was an opening-round loser a year ago. She exited the draw in the second round at this year's first Grand Slam event, the Aussie Open, this after a quality showing at the final major of 2013, the U.S. Open, where she surprised her way into the fourth round before succumbing to her fellow countrywoman Vinci. Giorgi had won six straight matches in New York, which included three wins in qualifying, before falling against Vinci. She upset former world No. 1 star Caroline Wozniacki in the third round in Flushing.

For the record, Giorgi avenged that loss against Vinci by foiling the veteran in the second round last week in Katowice, where she (surprisingly) reached her first-ever WTA-level quarterfinal en route to the title tilt.

Giorgi is quietly 9-3 on tour so far this season, including a big, big win over former world No. 1 and last year's French Open runner-up Maria Sharapova in the third round at Indian Wells last month.

And like so many other players, Giorgi also wants to improve on her results at the majors, where she's been a first-round loser four times, a second- or third-round loser once, and a fourth-round victim on two occasions. In addition to last year's U.S. Open showing, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2012, which included a pair of wins over Top-20 seeds (fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta and Nadia Petrova).

Back in January, a Sports Illustrated article talked about Giorgi's rise and her family's suspect business affairs. Giorgi and her Argentine father, Sergio, allegedly piled up tens of thousands of dollars in debt to would-be private sponsors.

For now, it's safe to say that Camila just wants to focus on the tennis side of things. If she can successfully do that ... the much-needed money will come.

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