Having had a consistent grass season, winning at least two matches per tournament, Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu returns to the red clay for BRD Bucharest Open. The 30-year-old now plays red clay for the first time since making the 4th round at Roland Garros.
Buzarnescu’s Coming Home
The Bucharest born Mihaela Buzarnescu is resilience personified. A string of injuries throughout her career has seen her contemplate retirement more than once. It’s good for her and good for tennis that she didn’t retire. The strength of character and power-quelling returns against Aryna Sabalenka at Wimbledon in the first round was a joy to watch.
In 2016, Buzurnescu dropped to #351 in the world, as injuries blighted her season. In 2017, five ITF titles strongly suggested that the Romanian has plenty of tennis in her. Her ranking currently stands at #28. Some great results on the grass, including a semifinal appearance at Eastbourne, suggest that a first WTA title is not beyond her. There is no better place to get your maiden WTA title than in your home city.
Danka Kovinic up First for Buzarnescu
Montenegrin Danka Kovinic is 11-12 on clay this season, but has played the bulk of these matches on the ITF tour. There is no head-to-head between these players. Buzarnescu will fancy her chances being ranked 89 places higher than Kovinic. However, there will be pressure on Buzarnescu to perform in front of her home crowd. Romanian crowds are known for getting behind their players and this should lift Buzarnescu.
Tamara Zidansek or Rebecca Peterson in the Second Round
Buzarnescu knows more about the vagaries of tennis than most. She will not take anything for granted, but will be keeping an eye on the Peterson vs Zidanesk match. The winner of this match plays Buzarnescu if she navigates her way past Kovinic. You would fancy the natural clay courter Peterson to come through that one. Buzarnescu beat Peterson at the French Open, and holds a 2-1 head-to-head lead over Peterson.
Arguably Buzarnescu’s Best Shot at Winning First WTA Title
Any neutral tennis fan will be team Buzarnescu this week. All that is missing from a great season is a title. Buzarnescu is the #2 seed here, behind Latvian clay courter Anastasija Sevastova. Other notable entrants include #4 seed Petra Martic and #3-seeded fellow Romanian Irena-Camelia Begu.
Buzarnescu will look at the field and know that this is her chance. She has never played Sevastova before, but would not even have to worry about that until the final. By then the stadium would become a partisan cauldron, pushing their Bucharest gal over the line.