By Ashley Marshall
Mihaela Buzarnescu continued her impressive 2018 season with a maiden singles title this weekend at the first women's stop of the 2018 US Open Series.
Buzarnescu capped a fine week at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Sunday, dropping just one game to first-time finalist Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 6-0, to climb into the winner's circle and break into the Top 20 of the rankings for the first time in her 14-year career.
Here's more on the first-time champion, who will likely be among the in-form seeds when play gets underway in the Big Apple on Aug. 27.
The Mihaela Buzarnescu File
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Current Rank: 20
Career-High Rank: 20 (August 2018)
Best US Open Finish: First round (2017)
- The Romanian was playing in her third final of the season after contesting the championship match in Hobart, Australia, against Elise Mertens in January and in Prague, Czech Republic, against Petra Kvitova in May.
- In addition to finding success in singles action, Buzarnescu is also having a successful year in doubles play. She captured the Strasbourg title with fellow Romanian Raluca Olaru and reached the quarterfinals of both Roland Garros (with Irina Bara) and Wimbledon (with Irina-Camelia Begu). In addition, she also reached the final of events in Prague and Nottingham with Lidziya Marozava and Heather Watson, respectively.
- Buzarnescu has represented Romania in five Fed Cup ties since making her debut with the national team in 2006. She holds a 2-0 singles record and a 1-3 doubles mark. Her two singles triumphs came in 2012 against Hungary's Katalin Marosi in the Group I Playoff and against Luxembourg's Tiffany Cornelius in a 3-0 Group I victory.
- A WTA Tour veteran, Buzarnescu has rejuvenated her career over the past few years, in particular within the past 12 months. She began 2015 ranked No. 891 in the world and climbed to No. 260 by the end of that season. After dropping to No. 377 at the conclusion of 2016, she cracked the Top 100 and ended 2017 at No. 72 for her first Top 100 finish. Last year, she made her Grand Slam main-draw singles debut at the US Open.
- Buzarnescu made her first singles appearance in New York in 2011, where she made the third round of qualies before losing to second-seeded Marina Erakovic. She fell in the first round of the US Open Qualifying Tournament in both 2012 and 2015 before coming through three matches last summer to reach the main draw, where she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in the first round.
- The 30-year-old has shown she is capable of winning big matches across all surfaces this year, defeating Elina Svitolina on both grass and clay and toppling Jelena Ostapenko on a hard court. After a first-round loss at the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round of the French Open and the third round of Wimbledon, proving she belongs on the biggest stages.
They Said It!
“Now, I think I believe in everything. I started to believe that I could play good when I qualified for the US Open last year. Everything's [been] better and better for me. I'll just try to focus for each tournament and each game as I did before. Maybe people will look differently at me now, but I don't want to change anything... just think of the good moments, and play.” – Buzarnescu told WTATennis.com after her victory.