BUCHAREST, Romania - No.4 seed Petra Martic is into her second career WTA final after defeating home favorite Mihaela Buzarnescu at the BRD Bucharest Open.
Martic came into Bucharest having not won back-to-back matches since March, but she’s completed an impressive turnaround to reach her first WTA final since 2012. The Croatian stayed steady against Buzarnescu’s aggressive game, needing an hour and 45 minutes to notch a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Martic grabbed the early lead against Buzarnescu, edging ahead after three straight breaks of serve. Buzarnescu struggled with her emotions throughout the match as Martic kept piling on the pressure, retrieving every shot and returning it with interest.
The Romanian hadn’t dropped a set all week, but that streak came to an end as Martic converted her fourth set point to take the opener.
While the first set featured three breaks and 11 break point chances, the second was a tight affair with just one break of serve making the difference for Martic. With Buzarnescu’s loss today the tournament is assured a non-Romanian player will lift the trophy - Simona Halep and Irina-Camelia Begu had claimed the last three of four editions.
Buzarnescu stayed aggressive throughout the match, but her errors were her undoing: she struck 28 winners but hit 34 unforced errors, while Martic hit 13 and 14, respectively. Martic’s serve was especially solid as well, winning 70% of her first serve points and firing off three aces - Buzarnescu won 59% and hit four double faults.
Up next, Martic will take on Anastasija Sevastova in the final as she seeks her first WTA title. Sevastova advanced after Polona Hercog was forced to retire after the first set, 6-1.
“I’m really excited to play in the final tomorrow,” Martic said. “I’m happy today I didn’t play three sets because the last two matches were really tough for me. I needed a shorter matches. I didn’t play her before, she is the favorite - which I like that she has that pressure.
“I think if I play well enough I have a pretty good chance to beat her.”
“Reaching the semifinals was sweet, but my goal this year was to win my first WTA event and I really hope it’s going to be tomorrow,” Martic added.