Catalina Castaño Alvarez (born 7 July 1979) is a professional female Colombian tennis player who reached her career-high singles ranking: World No. 35. Since November 2006, she is the highest ranked South American female tennis player. She is coached by Peruvian-born British citizen Pablo Giacopelli, who has been her coach since 2004.
She has reached the second round in three of the four Tennis Grand Slams Tournaments (Roland Garros, Australian Open and US Open), but she is yet to claim her first WTA Tour title. She has won six ITF titles in her career.
In 1999 she won her first ITF title in Santiago. The following year in 2000 she won two ITF titles in Midlothian and Cali. Finished the year with a win/loss record of 43–25. In 2001, Catalina reached the Quarterfinals in her home tournament of Bogotá, Colombia (Tier III). Passed the first round of the French Open but fell to top seed Martina Hingis in the second round 6–1 6–0. Lost in the first round of Wimbledon and the US Open. In 2002, Catalina advanced the Semifinals in Bogotá (Tier III). Lost in the first round of qualifying at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She next year she fell in the first round of qualifying at the Australian Open but the following week she once again made the Quarterfinals in Bogotá (Tier III). Played Federation Cup for Colombia for the first time, but lost to Amélie Mauresmo 5–1 ret. Qualified for the US Open in September but fell to Nadia Petrova in the first round. Reached four ITF finals but only won 2 of them- in Gorizia and Campobasso. Won 39 matches in the year and lost 18. In 2004, she secured the third Quarterfinal appearance in Bogotá (Tier III) of her career, before losing to top seeded and fellow Colombian Fabiola Zuluaga. In April, qualified for Amelia Island (Tier II) and Charleston (Tier I) on clay. Lost to Martina Navratilova 6–0 6–1 in the first round of Wimbledon. The following week, won her sixth ITF title in Orbetello.
Catalina's breakthrough and most successful year of her career to date. In February, reached back-to-back Quarterfinals in Bogotá (Tier III) for the fourth time and Acapulco (Tier III). In April, she won five matches in Miami (Tier I) including back-to-back wins over world number 19 (at the time) Paola Suárez and world number 13 Patty Schnyder, before falling to world number 9 (at the time) Venus Williams 6–4 2–6 6–1 in the round of 16. The following week, she also qualified for Amelia Island (Tier II). In May, she won four matches in Rome (Tier I) before losing to world number 10 (at the time) Vera Zvonareva 6–1 5–7 6–2 in the round of 16. In June, Catalina passed the first round of the French Open but lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the second round. Two weeks later in Birmingham, Catalina won her first match on grass in her career (and only win on grass to date) but still failed to qualify for the main draw. Lost in the first round of Wimbledon. In August, she reached the Semifinals in Stockholm (Tier IV) but lost to the eventual champion Katarina Srebotnik after having a match point. The following week, Catalina reached her first ever WTA Tour Final in Budapest. She lost to the top seed Anna Smashnova in the final, 6–2 6–2. At the US Open in September, Catalina reached the second round for the first time but was defeated by world number 8 (at the time) Serena Williams 6–2 6–2. In October, she reached the Semifinals in Seoul (Tier IV) but the eventual champion and second seed Nicole Vaidišová defeated her 7–5 6–4, in what was Vaidišová's toughest match of the tournament.
Catalina's second most successful year on the WTA Tour to date. She commenced January with a Semifinal showing in Canberra (Tier IV) and passed the first round of the Australian Open for the first time. In February, Catalina recorded back-to-back Quarterfinal performances in Pattaya City (Tier IV) and Bogotá (Tier III) for the fifth time. However, from late February to mid April, Catalina only won one out of five matches. In Charleston in mid April, Catalina reached her first Tier I Quarterfinal after she defeated Ashley Harkleroad, Nicole Vaidišová and Marion Bartoli. Her 7–5 6–2 win over Vaidišová, who was ranked 14 at the time, was her best win of the year. Second seed Nadia Petrova defeated her in the Quarterfinals. The following week in Berlin, Catalina beat Anna-Lena Grönefeld, who was ranked 14 at the time, 6–3 2–6 6–3. It was Catalina's second win over a top 15 player in as many weeks. Li Na however, defeated her in the third round. In May, she reached the Quarterfinals in Istanbul (Tier III) for the first time. She was defeated by top seed Anastasia Myskina 6–4 7–6(3). In June, Catalina reached the second round of the French Open but lost to twenty first seed Nathalie Dechy in three sets. In July, Catalina was the top seed for the first time in her career in Budapest. She reached the Quarterfinals but ironically lost to the player who beat her in the final last year, Anna Smashnova, 6–2 6–2 (the same scoreline of the 2005 final). She reached her highest ranking of No.35 on July 16. From August to October, Catalina won just five of fifteen matches. However, she finished the year ranked #55, and was the highest ranked South American female tennis player.
Catalina commenced 2007 with a solid start, recording two Quarterfinal appearances at the Gold Coast and Hobart in January. At the Gold Coast, she defeated Li Na who was ranked 21 at the time, 6–4 1–6 6–2. She fell 6–3 6–1 to top seed Martina Hingis in the Quarterfinals. In Hobert, she passed the first round and beat Mara Santangelo who was ranked 30 at the time, before falling in an epic match in the Quarterfinals. At the Australian Open, she fell in the first round to a French wildcard. Catalina then suffered first round losses in Pattaya, Doha and Indian Wells and failed to qualify in Dubai. However, she found small success in Miami and Amelia Island where she passed the first round. Despite another first round loss in Prague, Catalina qualified and reached the second round of Rome and recorded her first quarterfinal appearance since Hobart (January 2007) in Istanbul and her third quarterfinal appearance of 2007. In both tournaments she lost to Elena Dementieva, 6–4 6–3 in Rome and 1–6 6–4 6–4 in Istanbul. At Roland Garros, she passed the first round for the third consecutive occasion but fell in the next round to world number five Jelena Janković 6–3 6–3. She also lost in the first round of Wimbledon for the fourth consecutive time.