BUCHAREST, Romania - Just call 2018 the year of the moms.
On Sunday at the BRD Bucharest Open, Andreea Mitu won her first WTA title in doubles since giving birth.
The 26-year-old partnered compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu on home soil, and the wildcard team stormed all the way to the trophy, defeating Danka Kovinic and Maryna Zanevska in the final, 6-3, 6-4.
Mitu gave birth to a son, Adam, in January and was back playing compeititvely just four months later. The Romanian already showed title-winning form prior to competing in the first WTA event of her comeback, as she claimed the singles and doubles trophies at a $15,000 ITF event in Focsani, Romania two weeks ago.
“I tried coming back in May at a $15,000 tournament in Hungary. I was not ready, but I wanted to see what my level was," Mitu told the BRD Tennis Insider online show produced by Treizecizero earlier this week in Bucharest.
"After that, I had almost a month of very intense preparation – I was sore every day. I had two very good weeks, with four finals, singles and doubles, three titles. I felt very strong sharing a title with my son - a lot of joy and strength.”
The former World No.68 made the second week of the French Open in 2015, and won a pair of titles in doubles on tour in 2016.
This week, she partnered her higher-ranked compatriot - who won both singles and doubles last year in Bucharest - all the way to her third career WTA doubles title.
"I would like to congratulate Andreea because it wasn't easy at all for her," Begu said during Sunday's trophy ceremony. "I'm really happy I got the chance to help her, and thank you to the tournament for giving us a wildcard."
The home pairing almost didn't come together - as Begu was set to play with another Romanian in Monica Niculescu. However, the latter has been struggling with injury this season, and her withdrawal left Begu looking for a partner ahead of the event.
“I didn’t dare to ask Irina at first. I was reluctant because my ranking was not good enough and I didn’t want to waste her time," Mitu said.
"But she came to me and now we are a team. I was nervous from the first point on the court – but it was great and I wanted to do well, especially in a WTA tournament and having Irina as a partner."
With a WTA title already in her pocket less than a half-dozen tournaments into her comeback, the 26-year-old feels that she's just beginning.
“I feel great, that’s why I wanted to come back and play. Of course, I get tired, but overall, it’s all good. The level of my game is encouraging. I’m not back where I was two or three years ago. I have still a lot of catching up to do fitness wise, but I’m in no hurry – [it's] step by step," she said.
“I look forward to taking my son to tournaments, whenever possible. I have no time to waste anymore. I feel I can get even better as a player than in the past. I want to get back there and go higher this time."