BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - For the second time in three weeks, Mihaela Buzarnescu scored a statement victory over Elina Svitolina at the Nature Valley Classic on Friday, defeating the No.2 seed to advance to the semifinals, 6-3, 6-2.
The Romanian No.2 ousted one of the pre-tournament favorites in Svitolina at the French Open in the third round, and was similarly clinic on the grass courts of Birmingham over the course of 72 minutes in quarterfinal action.
Having reached a pair of semifinals this season in Hobart and Strasbourg, this victory for Buzarnescu books her place in her first-ever Premier-level semifinal in just her second grass tournament at WTA level.
"I didn't go on the court thinking I played her three weeks ago. She's an amazing player, so young and so many achievements until now and so many to come," the Romanian told reporters after the match.
"I just tried to go on the court, play my own game and focus on each point and take as an ordinary match."
With a pair of breaks in each set, Buzarnescu took advantage of 25 unforced errors from the Ukrainian's racquet, as Svitolina managed just 14 winners. The Romanian hit 18 winners to 12 unforced errors of her own, going 4-for-6 on break point chances, and won every game on Svitolina's serve in which she held break point.
Conversely, she also proved clutch when facing break point, as Buzarnescu saved all three chances Svitolina held in the match, which would've seen the No.2 seed get each set back on serve.
"I'm so happy with my game today. I really managed to focus and play well," Buzarnescu said after the match. "It's really been an amazing two weeks I've had, having played so little in the grass in my career.
"When I came last week in Nottingham, I just had only one day to practice. I only played last year two matches on grass and two years ago, one more time. I just try to adapt and get lower on my feet, use my serve, my left-handed serve, trying to go inside the court a little bit more."
Up next for the Romanian is a meeting with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a rematch of the final of the J&T Banka Prague Open, which was won by Kvitova on home soil in three sets.
"We played against each other like a month ago in the Prague final. This is her favorite surface," Buzarnescu assessed.
"I will just go on the court, do my game, and we'll see the result in the end, but it will be just another match."