BUCHAREST, Romania -- After a long day at the BRD Bucharest Open with numerous rain delays plaguing earlier matches, No.5 seed Sorana Cirstea cheered her compatriot fans with a straight-set win over Maryna Zanevska of Belgium, 6-2, 7-5, to advance to the quarterfinals.
The 75-minute match finished 45 minutes past midnight, with Cirstea emerging victorious due to 18 winners, four more than her opponent in their first meeting on tour. Cirstea broke Zanevska six times in the match, and claimed over two-thirds of points on the Belgian's second serve.
"Definitely, not an easy day," Cirstea told the media, after the match. "I’ve been here maybe 12 hours already; I think I’m hallucinating," she said with a laugh.
"Towards the end I just wanted to finish, didn’t matter how, but this is tennis, this is the beauty of it," Cirstea continued. "The one that adapts quicker, that’s the best and gets the win. I am very happy, now I need to go and recover for my next match."
"I’ve already committed to a certain game, and in order for me to get better, I need to believe in this, and I believe this is my best game," Cirstea said, regarding her high-risk power game. "I’m going to go for it no matter if I’m going to have a few mistakes here and there."
Cirstea sets up an all-seeded quarterfinal against top seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who advanced past Arantxa Rus into the elite eight on Wednesday.
"It’s an advantage to play, first of all, at home, and to have so many people supporting me so late," Cirstea concluded.
Cirstea was all over Zanevska's serve in the opening set, taking the Belgian's first two service games with ease. But the Romanian was unable to consolidate after both of those breaks, allowing Zanevska to claw her way back on serve on each of those occasions.
However, after breaking Zanevska for a third time to lead 4-2, the hometown heroine finally put the hammer down and held for the first time since the opening game, after a service return by the Belgian on game point went awry. Zanevska, who had not yet held serve in the contest, had to do so in order to stay in the set, but she could not, as Cirstea blasted a forehand winner on break point to lead 6-2.
The Romanian had eight winners to only three for Zanevska in the opening frame. Moreover, the unseeded player had four double faults in the set, which was a harbinger of things to come.
The second set was a much more competitive affair, as Zanevska started the set by drastically reducing her unforced errors -- Cirstea had double-digit miscues in the set before Zanevska had hit two. This paid off, as she held serve for the first time in the tilt to reach 1-1, and went up a break at 2-1 following a clutch of forehand errors by Cirstea.
Another hold by the Belgian for 3-1 caused alarm for the Romanian crowd, who were alert and cheering their favorite on despite the late hour. Cirstea assuaged their concerns by breaking back for 3-3, after Zanevska squandered a game point and dropped serve as her forehand broke down.
Zanevska stayed with Cirstea for much of the set, countering the Romanian’s power with a barrage of crafty drop shots. But after a solid performance, Zanevska crumbled while serving at 5-6, hitting two double faults en route to double match point.
The Belgian pulled back to deuce, but after a forehand error into the net gave Cirstea a third match point, Zanevska double faulted again to end the encounter, sending a joyful Cirstea another round further on home soil.