Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | ePaper

Buzarnescu captures first career singles title at San Jose

  • Print


Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, returns a backhand to Maria Sakkari of Greece during the finals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic tennis tournament in San Jose, Calif., Sunday.

AP, San Jose :

For a moment as she celebrated her first career title, an emotional, overjoyed Mihaela Buzarnescu stood on the court and made an apology for a tournament missing major star power.
No Serena Williams. No Venus. They each had early exits, leaving no Americans to cheer for Sunday in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
"I'm sorry that there was no American in the final but, well, I'm really happy to be on the poster next year so that's really amazing for me," she said.
Just with those words, the fifth-seeded Romanian drew big applause and chuckles.
Her gracious spirit, steady strokes and entertaining play sure helped, too.
Buzarnescu is a champion at last at age 30, beating 49th-ranked Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-0 at San Jose State University.
No. 24-ranked Buzarnescu threw her arms in the air in triumph and hit a ball into the stands Sunday after closing out the match with a 107 mph ace on a day several Romanian flags were held in the stands. She raised her racket, waved and acknowledged those fans, too.
"It really means a lot," she said. "It means all my work has paid off. It means everything."
Buzarnescu, a left-hander who ranked No. 142 only a year ago and has come back from two knee surgeries, mixed her shots beautifully with laser groundstrokes to send Sakkari chasing down balls in the corners while adding some slice and drop shots.
She is thrilled to be on the rise at this stage in her topsy-turvy career after considering what her next move would be beyond tennis as her troublesome knees baffled the doctors.
"I just didn't give up because I had my closest friends and my family who supported me," Buzarnescu said of reaching this high point. "... Now I believe in it and before I didn't believe in anything."
Serena Williams, the Wimbledon runner-up, suffered a career-worst 6-1, 6-0 loss in her opener to Johanna Konta while playing just her fifth tournament since giving birth to her daughter last September. Sakkari eliminated Venus Williams in the quarterfinals on Friday night.
"I gained confidence and experience. It has been a great week for me," Sakkari said. "I think I will be more prepared for my next final."
Sakkari missed on four break-point chances in the final game of the first set, when Buzarnescu double-faulted twice, while the last two games of the opening set featured nine deuces.
Sakkari reached her first career final after surviving near elimination - she was two games from losing - in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 semifinal victory against Danielle Collins. That was the only set she lost all week before Sunday.
By the final, she was nervous and physically spent.
"She could do anything she wanted. That was easier for her," Sakkari said. "She handled it great. She took the opportunity I was not playing good. I felt like I didn't have any solutions."
Buzarnescu rallied from a set down to beat fourth-seeded Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals.
After Sunday's win, she was quick to credit the 23-year-old Sakkari for a sensational week of tennis and expressed hope they will both face off in many big matches again down the line after meeting for the first time.

More News For this Category

David Willey returns to ODIs

Ahead of the three-match Test series against Windies in January, England have named an unchanged 15-man squad from the one which finished the successful tour of Sri Lanka recently.Following the

Villarreal, Valencia and Athletic struggling in Spain

AP, Madrid :Traditional Spanish clubs Villarreal, Valencia, and Athletic Bilbao entered the season with high hopes, looking to make a run against the powerful trio of Real Madrid, Barcelona and

Badminton's Lee reveals tears over cancer diagnosis

AFP, Kuala Lumpur :Malaysian badminton great Lee Chong Wei has revealed how he broke down in tears after learning he had nose cancer - and detailed the "nightmare" treatment that

Members of Bangladesh Under-15 Football team passing their time at a swimming pool in Thailand on Tuesday.

Members of Bangladesh Under-15 Football team passing their time at a swimming pool in Thailand on Tuesday.

Barcelona express worry about La Liga match in USA

AFP, Barcelona :Barcelona have withdrawn their wish to play a first ever La Liga game in the Unites States until all parties agree with the idea, the club announced on

Westbrook, George spark as Thunder mute Jazz

Westbrook, George spark as Thunder mute Jazz

AFP, Los Angeles :Paul George led the scoring with 31 points while Russell Westbrook bagged his sixth triple-double of the season on Monday as the Oklahoma City Thunder downed the

Maintain polls atmosphere

Staff Reporter :Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Tuesday instructed the judicial magistrates to maintain election atmosphere and not to allow anyone or group to destabilise the heat

President of Bangladesh Badminton Federation and Secretary of Ministry of Information Md Abdul Malek inaugurating the Younex-Sunrise International Badminton Tournament by releasing the balloons as the chief guest at the Shaheed Tajuddin Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

President of Bangladesh Badminton Federation and Secretary of Ministry of Information Md Abdul Malek inaugurating the Younex-Sunrise International Badminton Tournament by releasing the balloons as the chief guest at the Shaheed Tajuddin Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.

City starlet Foden signs new contract

City starlet Foden signs new contract

Manchester City's highly-rated young midfielder Phil Foden has signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League champions the club announced on Monday.Foden is regarded as one of the brightest

Dananjaya's bowling action found to be illegal

Sri Lanka off-spinner Akila Dananjaya has been suspended from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Monday that an independent assessment has