BUCHAREST, Romania -- No.2 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu thrilled her compatriot fans at the BRD Bucharest Open in Romania on Wednesday, coming back from a two-break deficit in the second set to claim a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.
"It was a tough match from the beginning, actually," Buzarnescu told the media, after the match. "In the second set, I didn’t start doing the same things as I was doing in the first set, and she took advantage because [Zidansek] is a great player with really good results lately. She is young, so she has so many upcoming good levels."
Buzarnescu fell behind 4-1 in the second set, with Zidansek holding game point for 5-1, before engineering a spirited comeback to take the straight-set win in one hour and 49 minutes and increase her head-to-head record against Zidansek to 3-0.
The Romanian won 62 percent of points off Zidansek's second serve during the match, which surely contributed to the Slovene hitting five double faults. Buzarnescu held 18 break points in the encounter, and though Zidansek staved off 11 of them, it was not enough to get her past the World No.25.
Buzarnescu said the transition from the grass season back to clay was "tough. I thought it was going to be much easier, but almost five weeks on grass makes a big difference when you come back on the clay, because it’s totally different bouncing and sliding. I am really happy I managed to win two matches until now, and hopefully I will get some good rest and prepare for the next match."
— WTA (@WTA) July 18, 2018
Buzarnescu advances to the quarterfinals in her hometown, where she will meet Wang Yafan of China, who advanced past No.7 seed Pauline Parmentier of France, 7-6(0), 3-0, ret.
"I’m here at home with so much public coming and watching me," said Buzarnescu. "I really want to prove to them that I’m playing good and I’m positive and showing them everything that I’m able to play."
After an early exchange of breaks, the players were deadlocked at three games apiece. But at this stage, Buzarnescu ramped up her game, which led to her taking the final four games of the opening set.
Serving at 3-3, Zidansek fell behind 0-40 after a flurry of winners by the Romanian, and while Zidansek was able to fend off all three of those chances, a fourth arrived after another forehand winner by Buzarnescu. On that point, Zidansek charged to the net during a rally, but sent a backhand miscue long to hand over a break to Buzarnescu.
Buzarnescu quickly held for 5-3, and then reached triple set point after a double fault by Zidansek. Once more, the Slovene staved off multiple break points, but on her third opportunity, Buzarnescu cracked a scintillating backhand passing shot to take the first set.
— WTA (@WTA) July 18, 2018
Buzarnescu, however, lost the plot at the outset of the second set, as her unforced errors began to pile up and she became visibly frustrated by potentially squandering her advantage. After leading 40-0, Buzarnescu dropped serve in the opening game of the set, firing a forehand well long on Zidansek’s third break point of the game.
Zidansek’s groundstrokes were finding their spots easily at this stage of the match, and the Slovene broke Buzarnescu once more, taking a commanding 4-1 lead via a backhand passing shot for a winner.
But Buzarnescu spurred herself on to get back in the match, as the crowd bolstered the second seed’s emotions. The Romanian claimed a break back for 4-2, erasing two game points and finally breaking on her fourth chance of the game. Zidansek then faltered in her next service game as well, pushing a backhand long on break point to level the set at 4-4.
Zidansek broke again to lead 5-4 and serve for the set, but hit too many errors during that game, and Buzarnescu broke back for 5-5. The Romanian then finally started to unleash her whipping forehand with great success, and powered through the final two games of the match to claim a hard-earned quarterfinal spot.