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Buzarnescu dominates Sakkari to win first WTA title

Updated August 07, 2018

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SAN JOSE: Maria Sakkari of Greece hits a backhand return to Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu during the final of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.—AP
SAN JOSE: Maria Sakkari of Greece hits a backhand return to Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu during the final of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.—AP

SAN JOSE: Mihaela Buzarnescu’s long road to a WTA title ended in California as the Romanian powered past first-time finalist Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-0 in the final of the Silicon Valley Classic, a US Open hardcourt tuneup on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Romanian lost 19 points and needed just 73 minutes to wrap up the final. For Buzarnescu, ranked 24th in the world and seeded fifth, it was a reward for perseverance. Once the top junior in Europe, she endured two knee surgeries and saw her ranking tumble to 891st in the world.

During her extensive convalescence, during which she wondered if her left knee would ever mend, Buzarnescu received her Ph.D in sports science. But her tennis dream remained and she has enjoyed a breakthrough 2018, her first title coming in an elite Premier level event after she was disappointed in finals at Hobart and Prague earlier this year.

Buzarnescu, who just a year ago was No. 142 in the world, will rise to 20th when the updated rankings are released on Monday.

“It means that no matter all that’s passing through your life — injuries and people not believing in you and not thinking that you can ever be able to play again and reach a high level — if you believe in yourself and don’t give up you can make it,” Buzarnescu said.

Published in Dawn, August 07th, 2018