Irina Spîrlea

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Irina Spîrlea
Country (sports) Romania
Residence Rome, Italy
Born (1974-03-26) 26 March 1974 (age 42)
Bucharest, Romania
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Turned pro 1990
Retired 2000
Plays Right-handed (one handed-backhand)
Prize money US$ 2,652,068
Singles
Career record 291–189
Career titles 4 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking No. 7 (13 October 1997)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (1997)
French Open 4R (1994, 1996, 1997)
Wimbledon 4R (1997, 1998)
US Open SF (1997)
Doubles
Career record 200–154
Career titles 6 WTA, 5 ITF
Highest ranking No. 16 (2 October 1995)

Irina Spîrlea (born 26 March 1974 in Bucharest) is a former tennis player from Romania, who turned professional in 1990. She won four singles and six doubles titles during her career. Spîrlea reached her highest individual ranking on the WTA Tour on 13 October 1997, when she became number 7 in the world. She retired in 2000.

Personal life[edit]

Spîrlea married her former coach, Italian Massimiliano Pace, in 2001, and has a son, Tommaso, born in 2002, as well as a younger daughter, Francesca.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Irina Spîrlea is one of the most successful Romanian female tennis players, being one of only three to have reached the top 10 (the others being Virginia Ruzici and Simona Halep.)[3] Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was a semi-final at the US Open in 1997. She won the WTA's Newcomer of the Year award in 1994.[4]

Controversies[edit]

In 1996 Spîrlea became the first player in the history of the Women's Tennis Association to receive a match default for conduct[5] when she swore at an official in "gutter Italian" during a match played in Palermo, Italy.[6]

Spîrlea is known for a bumping incident with Venus Williams during a changeover in the semi-finals of the 1997 US Open. Spîrlea collided with Williams near the net post while changing ends, claiming that Venus Williams was arrogant and didn't move. Spîrlea went on to lose the match 6–7, 6–4, 6–7 in a third-set tiebreak, after holding two match points, at 6–4 and 6–5 in the tie breaker. Williams' father blamed Spîrlea's racism as the cause of the collision and later called her an "ugly, white turkey".[7] Spîrlea cited Williams' arrogance, saying in a press conference following the match, "I'm not going to move. She never tries to turn"[8] and "She thinks she's the (expletive) Venus Williams."[7] Williams however shrugged off the confrontation saying "I thought we both weren't looking. I'm sorry she feels that way. It's not a big thing to me. No one said 'Excuse me'.[9]

WTA Tour Finals[edit]

Singles: 10 (4–6)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–2)
Tier II (1–0)
Tier III, IV & V / International (3–4)
Titles by Surface
Hard (0–2)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (4–3)
Carpet (0–1)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 27 September 1993 Sapporo Carpet (I) Linda Wild 4–6, 3–6
Runner-up 2. 25 April 1994 Taranto Clay Julie Halard-Decugis 2–6, 3–6
Winner 1. 4 July 1994 Palermo Clay Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 6–4, 1–6, 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up 3. 2 January 1995 Jakarta Hard Sabine Hack 6–2, 6–7(6–8), 4–6
Winner 2. 10 July 1995 Palermo Clay Sabine Hack 7–6(7–1), 6–2
Winner 3. 8 April 1996 Amelia Island Clay Mary Pierce 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 4. 3 March 1997 Indian Wells Hard Lindsay Davenport 2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 30 March 1998 Hilton Head Island Clay Amanda Coetzer 3–6, 4–6
Winner 4. 18 May 1998 Strasbourg Clay Julie Halard-Decugis 7–6(7–5), 6–3
Runner-up 6. 19 April 1999 Cairo Clay Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 1–6, 0–6

Doubles: 13 (6–7)[edit]

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (1–1)
Tier II (2–2)
Tier III, IV & V / International (3–4)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–1)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (2–3)
Carpet (3–3)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. 25 April 1994 Taranto Clay Noëlle van Lottum Sandra Cecchini
Isabelle Demongeot
6–3, 2–6, 6–1
Winner 2. 2 January 1995 Jakarta Hard Claudia Porwik Laurence Courtois
Nancy Feber
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 1 24 April 1995 Zagreb Clay Laura Golarsa Mercedes Paz
Rene Simpson
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 2. 29 January 1996 Tokyo Carpet (I) Mariaan de Swardt Gigi Fernández
Natasha Zvereva
6–7(7–9), 3–6
Winner 3. 6 May 1996 Rome Clay Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Gigi Fernández
Martina Hingis
6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 3. 4 November 1996 Oakland Carpet (I) Nathalie Tauziat Lindsay Davenport
Mary Joe Fernández
1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 4. 19 May 1997 Madrid Clay Inés Gorrochategui Mary Joe Fernández
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
3–6, 2–6
Runner-up 5. 2 November 1998 Leipzig Carpet (I) Manon Bollegraf Elena Likhovtseva
Ai Sugiyama
3–6, 7–6(7–2), 1–6
Runner-up 6. 4 January 1999 Gold Coast Hard Kristine Kunce Corina Morariu
Larisa Neiland
3–6, 3–6
Winner 4. 22 February 1999 Paris Carpet (I) Caroline Vis Elena Likhovtseva
Ai Sugiyama
7–5, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 7. 19 April 1999 Cairo Clay Caroline Vis Laurence Courtois
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
7–5, 1–6, 6–7(7–9)
Winner 5. 20 September 1999 Luxembourg Carpet (I) Caroline Vis Tina Križan
Katarina Srebotnik
6–1, 6–2
Winner 6. 25 October 1999 Linz Carpet (I) Caroline Vis Tina Križan
Larisa Neiland
6–4, 6–3

Grand Slam singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 SR W–L W%
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A A A 1R 4R 2R QF 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7 8–7 53%
French Open A A 1R A 4R 3R 4R 4R 1R 3R 1R 0 / 8 13–8 62%
Wimbledon A A A A 2R 3R 2R 4R 4R 1R 1R 0 / 7 10–7 59%
US Open A A Q1 A 1R 1R 3R SF 4R 3R A 0 / 6 12–6 67%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–0 4–4 7–4 7–4 15–4 6–4 4–4 0–3 0 / 28 43–28 61%
Year-End Championships
Tour Championships A A A A A A 1R SF SF A A 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Tier I Tournaments
Tokyo Tier II A A A 2R 2R QF A A 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Chicago A Tier II Not Held 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Boca Raton Tier II A A Tier II Not Held 0 / 1 0–1 0%
Indian Wells Tier II F 3R 2R 2R 0 / 5 8–5 62%
Miami A A A A 1R 2R QF QF 2R 2R 2R 0 / 7 8–7 53%
Charleston A A A A 1R 3R QF 3R F 2R A 0 / 6 11–6 65%
Berlin A A A A A SF A 3R QF 1R 1F 0 / 5 7–5 58%
Rome A A Q1 A SF 3R SF QF 3R 3R 1R 0 / 8 15–8 65%
Montreal / Toronto A A A A A A 1R 1R 3R 1R A 0 / 4 1–4 20%
Moscow Tier V Not Held Tier III QF 1R A A 0 / 2 1–2 33%
Zürich Tier II A A 1R 2R 2R SF 2R A 0 / 5 6–5 55%
Philadelphia NH Tier II A A QF Tier II 0 / 4 5–4 56%
Career Statistics
Year-End Ranking 310 208 164 63 43 21 10 8 15 35 167
  • A = did not participate in the tournament.
  • SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Record against other top players[edit]

Spîrlea's win-loss record against certain players who have been ranked World No. 10 or higher is as follows:

Players who have been ranked World No. 1 are in boldface.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article in Romanian
  2. ^ Article in Romanian
  3. ^ Article in Romanian
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ The Enquirer – This article is no longer available
  6. ^ CNN/SI – US Open Player Profiles
  7. ^ a b sportsillustrated.cnn.com
  8. ^ telegraph.co.uk
  9. ^ Father of tennis star Venus Williams charges racism during recent U.S. Open – Richard Williams|Jet|Find Articles at BNET.com

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Iva Majoli
WTA Newcomer of the Year
1994
Succeeded by
Martina Hingis