Sorana Cîrstea

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Sorana Cîrstea
Cirstea WM19 (41) (48522044997).jpg
Country (sports) Romania
ResidenceTârgoviște, Romania
Born (1990-04-07) 7 April 1990 (age 30)
Bucharest, Romania
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Turned pro2006
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
CoachCarl Maes
Prize money$5,807,810
Singles
Career record447–338 (56.9%)
Career titles1
Highest rankingNo. 21 (12 August 2013)
Current rankingNo. 88 (12 October 2020)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (2017)
French OpenQF (2009)
Wimbledon3R (2009, 2012, 2017)
US Open3R (2009, 2019, 2020)
Doubles
Career record150–121 (55.4%)
Career titles5
Highest rankingNo. 35 (9 March 2009)
Current rankingNo. 204 (12 October 2020)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open2R (2009)
French Open3R (2008, 2018)
Wimbledon3R (2011)
US Open3R (2009)
Team competitions
Fed Cup15–12 (55.6%)
Last updated on: 12 October 2020.

Sorana Mihaela Cîrstea[1] (Romanian pronunciation: [soˈrana ˈkɨrste̯a]; born 7 April 1990) is a Romanian tennis player. In singles, she achieved her career-high ranking of world No. 21 on 12 August 2013.[2] In doubles, her career-high ranking is No. 35, which she reached on 9 March 2009. Her biggest achievements: reaching the quarterfinals at the 2009 French Open and reaching the final at the 2013 Rogers Cup. Over her career, Cîrstea has defeated top-ten players Anna Chakvetadze, Sara Errani, Jelena Janković, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitová, Li Na, Karolína Plíšková, Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki,Vera Zvonareva, Johanna Konta.

Playing style[edit]

Cîrstea is a power player. Her groundstrokes are often erratic with an emphasis on going for a winner leading her to make a high amount of unforced errors per match but with a high number of winners.[3] According to the Tennis Spy, her long stride means she covers ground while not appearing to move particularly quickly.[3] As a doubles player, she is also a very solid volleyer.[3] Her forehands and backhands are delivered quickly on both sides.[3]

Early and personal life[edit]

Cîrstea was born to Mihai and Liliana in Bucharest,[4] but currently resides in Târgoviște where her parents are from.[5] She also has a younger brother, Mihnea.[4] Cîrstea was introduced to tennis at the age of four by her mother.[5] Sorana's father owns an ice cream factory in Târgoviște.[6] She has cited Steffi Graf and Roger Federer as her idols.[5]

Career[edit]

2005–2006: Last junior years and turning professional[edit]

Cîrstea is a former ITF Junior Circuit top-ten player, reaching her highest ranking of No. 6 on 26 June 2006. Her best results include a title in the 2005 German Junior Open (Grade 1), a tournament in which she was finalist the year before, defeating Erika Zanchetta in three sets in the final, and a runner-up place in the 2006 Trofeo Bonfiglio (Grade A), where she lost in the final to compatriot Ioana Raluca Olaru after having defeated the top-ranked world junior player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals. She also made final appearances at the year-ending Grade-1 juniors tournaments, Eddie Herr International and Yucatán World Cup, in 2005 and 2006, and in the Opus Nottinghill International in 2006.[7]

She turned professional in 2006 and ended the year at No. 353 in the WTA rankings.

2007–2008: First WTA title and reaching top 40[edit]

Sorana Cîrstea in 2008

In April 2007, she reached the final of the Budapest Grand Prix, a Tier-III event, as a qualifier. All of her main draw matches went to three sets. She beat Martina Müller in the second round, Eleni Daniilidou in the quarterfinals and Karin Knapp in the semifinals before losing to Gisela Dulko in the final. She was the first Romanian to reach a WTA Tour final since Ruxandra Dragomir in June 2000. During her run, she beat two players ranked inside the top 40. The following month, Cîrstea played in the junior tournament of the 2007 French Open where she reached the doubles final with Alexa Glatch, losing to the third seeds Ksenia Milevskaya and Urszula Radwańska.

She competed for Romania in the women's singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics, losing in the first round to Shahar Pe'er.[8] In October 2008, Cîrstea won her first WTA title in Tashkent by defeating fourth seed and world No. 64, Sabine Lisicki, in three sets.[9] She also won her first two WTA titles in doubles that year. At the end of 2008, she was No. 36 in the WTA singles rankings and the No. 1 Romanian, aged only 18 years.

2009: First Grand Slam quarterfinals at Roland Garros[edit]

Cirstea at the 2009 French Open

Cîrstea began new season by losing to Dinara Safina at the Medibank International in Sydney, in straight sets. In the doubles tournament, she partnered Vera Dushevina and reached the second round, defeating Kuznetsova/Petrova before losing to Black/Huber. At the Australian Open, she lost in the first singles round to Melinda Czink, but reached the second round of the doubles with Monica Niculescu, defeating Ditty/Gullickson and losing to Dechy/Santangelo.[10]

Cîrstea lost in the first rounds of the Open GdF Suez and Dubai Championships, to Nathalie Dechy and Dominika Cibulková respectively. In doubles, she again partnered Monica Niculescu in Suez, reaching the semifinals before injury forced them to lose in a walkover to Peschke/Raymond. In Dubai, she partnered Arina Rodionova and they lost in the first round to Kirilenko/Radwańska. Cîrstea received a bye in the first round at Indian Wells, but lost in the second to Elena Vesnina. In the doubles tournament, she partnered Galina Voskoboeva and lost in the first round to Mattek-Sands/Washington. Cîrstea finished her hardcourt season with a loss in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to the qualifier Mariya Koryttseva. Her doubles effort in Miami with Caroline Wozniacki also ended in the first round with a loss to Kuznetsova/Mauresmo.

Her clay-court season began at the inaugural Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella. She reached the semifinals, defeating Ioana Olaru, Andreja Klepač and Kaia Kanepi before losing to Carla Suárez Navarro. In the doubles, she partnered Ioana Olaru and they reached the quarterfinals, before losing to Hercog/Ulirova. At the Barcelona Ladies Open, Cîrstea lost in the first round of the singles tournament to Anastasiya Yakimova, but reached the finals of the doubles tournament with Andreja Klepač. They defeated Grönefeld/Senoglu, Ani/Voráčová, and Hlaváčková/Hradecká, before falling to Vives/Sanchez in the final. A week later, at Fes, Cîrstea again lost in the first round of the singles tournament, to Lourdes Domínguez Lino, and again reached the finals of the doubles tournament, with Maria Kirilenko. Cîrstea/Kirilenko defeated Fernandez-Brugues/Thorpe, Czink/Keothavong, and Hercog/Olaru, before losing to Kleybanova/Makarova in three sets.

At the Estoril Open, Cîrstea reached the quarterfinals of the singles tournament, defeating Kimiko Date-Krumm and Maret Ani, before falling to the eventual champion Yanina Wickmayer. In the doubles, she again partnered Kirilenko, defeating Ivanova/Yakimova, before losing to Coin/Pelletier in the quarterfinals. At Madrid, she lost in the first rounds of both the singles and the doubles tournaments, falling to Alona Bondarenko in two sets in the singles, and partnering Vladimíra Uhlířová in the doubles to lose to Makarova/Kudrayvtseva in the super-tiebreaker.

Cîrstea then had her breakthrough tournament at the French Open. She began with wins over Carly Gullickson and an upset of the 21st seed Alizé Cornet to advance to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. She then defeated her doubles partner Wozniacki, the tenth seed. Cîrstea continued her unlikely run with a 3–6, 6–0, 9–7 upset over the fifth-seeded Jelena Janković to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal,[11] where she faced the 30th seed Sam Stosur, losing in straight sets. Her doubles effort with Wozniacki ended in the first round with a loss to Pennetta/Kirilenko.

Cîrstea at the 2009 US Open

At the Ordina Open in the Netherlands, she defeated Niculescu in three sets but lost in the second round to Yanina Wickmayer. She paired with Dinara Safina for the doubles tournament, defeating Grönefeld/Niculescu in the first round and losing to Errani/Pennetta in the second round. At Wimbledon, Cîrstea was seeded 28th. She defeated Edina Gallovits and Sania Mirza in the first two rounds, but lost to the eighth seed Victoria Azarenka in the third round. In the doubles, she once again partnered Wozniacki, but lost in the second round to Koryttseva/Poutchek. At the Swedish Open in Båstad, Cîrstea defeated the qualifier Johanna Larsson before losing to Gisela Dulko in the second round. She and Wozniacki lost in the second round to Kondratieva/Lefevre. Two weeks later, Cîrstea lost in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic to Agnieszka Radwańska. Partnering Maria Kirilenko, she reached the semifinals of the doubles, defeating Granville/Gullickson and Coin/Pelletier, before losing to Chan/Niculescu.

Cîrstea had another improbable run at the LA Championships in August. She upset Wozniacki and Radwańska, despite Radwańska serving for the match in the third set, but lost to Stosur in the semifinals. Cîrstea/Wozniacki lost in the first round of the doubles to Chang/Yan. At the Cincinnati Masters, she defeated Meghann Shaughnessy and Anna-Lena Grönefeld before losing to the fourth seed Elena Dementieva, but achieved a career high ranking of No. 23. At the US Open, Cîrstea was seeded 24th. She defeated Ayumi Morita and Stéphanie Dubois before losing in the third round to the eventual finalist Wozniacki, the No. 9 seed and her doubles partner. Cîrstea/Wozniacki defeated Bammer/Schruff and Azarenka/Zvonareva before losing in the third round to the eventual champions, Williams/Williams. After the US Open, Cîrstea lost her next five matches, in the Korea Open, Pan Pacific Open, China Open, Linz Open and Kremlin Cup.

She finished 2009 ranked 43rd in the world, with a 21–24 match record.[10]

2010: Struggles with form[edit]

Cîrstea at the 2010 US Open

In the 2010 Hopman Cup in early January, Cîrstea played with Victor Hănescu. Romania were seeded sixth and finished last in their group, winning against the Australian team of Sam Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt, but losing to the Spain's María José Martínez Sánchez and Tommy Robredo, the eventual champions, and the American team of Melanie Oudin and John Isner. Cîrstea posted a three-set win over Stosur and, with Hanescu, a 7–5, 6–1 win over Stosur and Hewitt. She lost in straight sets to Martínez Sánchez and Oudin.[10]

She easily lost in the first round of the Hobart tournament to Peng Shuai. At the Australian Open, she defeated Olivia Rogowska, and lost in the second round to Alisa Kleybanova. She partnered Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the doubles tournament, losing to Kirilenko/Radwańska in the first round 0–6, 7–6, 2–6.

Her next tournament was the Open GdF Suez in Paris, where she fell to Oudin 3–6, 0–6. She lost in straight sets in the first rounds of the Dubai, Acapulco, and Monterrey tournaments, to Francesca Schiavone, Sharon Fichman, and Sara Errani, respectively. At Indian Wells she reached the second round, first defeating Kaia Kanepi, before losing to Zheng Jie. In Miami two weeks later at the Sony Ericsson Open, Cîrstea defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito before losing in the second round to the third seed Venus Williams.

In the clay-court season, Cîrstea prevailed over the sixth seed Maria Kirilenko in the first round of the Andalucia Tennis Experience. She then lost in the second round to her fellow Romanian Simona Halep. At the Barcelona Open, she defeated Tamira Paszek, but lost in the second round to Iveta Benešová, in straight sets. Cîrstea was seeded second at the Estoril Open and defeated her compatriot Ioana Olaru in the first round and Larcher de Brito in the second. In the quarterfinals, she beat Arantxa Rus 6–4, 6–1, but fell to Arantxa Parra Santonja in the semifinals. In the doubles, she partnered Anabel Medina Garrigues to win the tournament, beating Peng/Zhang, Manasieva/Olaru and Diatchenko/Vedy. Cîrstea lost to Flavia Pennetta in three sets in the first round of the Madrid Open. Two weeks later, she qualified for the Strasbourg tournament, losing to Elena Baltacha in the first round.

At the French Open, she lost in the first round to the defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. At Eastbourne, she defeated Francesca Schiavone, losing in the second round to Kuznetsova in three sets. At Wimbledon, she was defeated by Petra Kvitová in the first round. At the GdF Suez Grand Prix she lost in the first round to the qualifier Zuzana Ondrášková. She lost in the quarterfinals at the İstanbul Cup toPavlyuchenkova and the Danish Open to Klára Zakopalová. At the Western & Southern Open, she lost in the first round to Sybille Bammer.[10] At the US Open, Cîrstea lost to Sofia Arvidsson in the first round.

She ended the year placed 93rd in the WTA rankings.

2011: Re-entering top 60[edit]

At the Australian Open, Cîrstea defeated Mirjana Lučić before she was beaten by Shahar Pe'er in the second round.[12] In the doubles tournament, she played with Lucie Šafářová and defeated the team of Sarah Borwell and Marie-Ève Pelletier, in three sets. In the second round they lost to Cara Black and Anastasia Rodionova.[13]

In the Cellular South Cup, Cîrstea defeated Catherine Harrison in the first round, before she lost to Shahar Pe'er in the second. In doubles, she and her partner Anastasia Pivovarova lost in the first round to Andrea Hlaváčková/Lucie Hradecká. At the 2011 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Cîrstea defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner before she lost to Laura Pous Tió. Sorana played doubles again now with Andreja Klepač as a partner. They won the first round by defeated Eleni Daniilidou/Jasmin Wöhr. They lost in the second round to Irina-Camelia Begu/Alexandra Panova.[14] Cîrstea qualified in singles for the BNP Paribas Open. In the first round she lost to Alla Kudryavtseva.[15] In the Sony Ericsson Open, Sorana received a wildcard in singles, but lost in the first round to Zheng Jie.

At the Andalucia Tennis Experience, she lost in the first round to Sara Errani, in three sets. She paired with Maria Elena Camerin for the doubles tournament defeating Alberta Brianti/Aurélie Védy. They lost in the second round to Errani/Vinci.[16] In the following months, Sorana didn't have good results. But she proved she is back in the form as she won Open GDF Suez. It was a $100k tournament with a lot of top-100 players. She beat Patty Schnyder in the first round and compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru in the second in the French Open before losing to Li Na, in straight sets.

She then made it into the main draw of the Wimbledon Championships, where she lost in straight sets to Pauline Parmentier. Sorana played doubles again with Ayumi Morita of Japan defeating Chuang Chia-jung/Hsieh Su-wei. They won their second round against Sophie Lefèvre/Evgeniya Rodina. They lost in third round to Sabine Lisicki/Sam Stosur.

In Båstad at the Swedish Open, Cîrstea defeated Mirjana Lučić in the first round. She lost in the second round to Vesna Dolonc. At the XXIV SNAI Open Internationali Femminili di Tennis di Palermo, Sorana won her first round match against Andrea Hlaváčková. She lost then to Tsvetana Pironkova. At the ITF Bucharest, Cîrstea beat her compatriots Diana Enache and Mădălina Gojnea, before losing in the third round to Laura Pous Tió. She then played in Carlsbad, California, at the Mercury Insurance Open. She was beaten by CoCo Vandeweghe in a close match in the first round. Next tournament in Cincinnati, she qualified in singles for the main draw. In the first round she defeated Ksenia Pervak, but lost in the second to Jill Craybas in the third set tiebreaker.

In Dallas, the inaugural tournament of Texas Tennis Open, Cîrstea beat Jarmila Gajdošová in the first round, in the second she lost to Aravane Rezaï. She played doubles for the first time with Alberta Brianti of Italy. In the first round they defeated Kateryna Bondarenko/Alona Bondarenko and in the second Andreja Klepač/Tatiana Poutchek. In the semifinal match, they beat Sofia Arvidsson/Casey Dellacqua in straight sets. They won their final match and the title by defeating Alizé Cornet/Pauline Parmentier. Cîrstea won her fourth WTA doubles title, while Brianti won her second.[17] At the US Open, Cîrstea lost in the first round to Yanina Wickmayer. She paired with Ayumi Morita of Japan in doubles. They defeated Casey Dellacqua and Rennae Stubbs in the first round, but lost in the second to María José Martínez Sánchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

In Uzkebistan, she defeated Bojana Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunić, but lost in the third round to Alla Kudryavtseva. Cîrstea played doubles too with Pauline Parmentier, but they lost in the first round to Iryna Brémond/Mandy Minella. Cîrstea won the title in the Open GDF Suez de Bretagne in Saint-Malo, France. She defeated Estrella Cabeza Candela, Eva Fernández Brugués, Laura Pous Tió and Stefanie Vögele, before beating Silvia Soler Espinosa in straight sets.[18] In the Generali Ladies Linz, Cîrstea played in the qualifying draw with great victories. In the first round, she beat Nikola Hofmanova, before she beat Silvia Soler Espinosa. Then Sorana defeated Anastasia Rodionova 6–1, 6–2 to play in the main singles draw. In the first round, she beat Tamira Paszek. She defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the fourth seed of the tournament, in second round nut lost in third round to Lucie Šafářová. In France, Cîrstea won the Open GdF Suez, a $50k tournament featuring top 100 players. She defeated Paula Ormaechea, Stefanie Vögele, Michaëlla Krajicek, Akgul Amanmuradova, and Sofia Arvidsson.[10]

At the end of the year, she was in 60th place in the WTA rankings.

2012: Ascent to top 30[edit]

Cîrstea began 2012 ranked 60 in the world.[19] Her first tournament was in Auckland, New Zealand the ASB Classic. Sorana lost in first round to Flavia Pennetta. In doubles she partnered with Darija Jurak of Croatia; they lost a first-round match to Kristina Barrois/Anna-Lena Grönefeld.[20] At the Hobart International, Cîrstea defeated Ksenia Pervak in first and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second. In third round, Cîrstea lost to Angelique Kerber despite having two match points. In doubles, she paired again with Darija Jurak. They beat Kristina Barrois/Jasmin Wöhr in straight sets. Cîrstea/Jurak lost in second round to Irina-Camelia Begu/Monica Niculescu.[21] At the Australian Open, Cîrstea eliminated 6th seed Sam Stosur in the first round. In second round she beat Urszula Radwańska. She lost in third round to Sara Errani in a match harmed by an early back injury. In doubles Sorana played with Lucie Šafářová again, but they lost to ninth seeds Natalie Grandin/Vladimíra Uhlířová.[22]

Cîrstea at the 2012 BNP Paribas Open

At the Pattaya Open, Cîrstea was seeded seventh. She defeated Erika Sema in the first round and then Misaki Doi in the second by the same scoreline. In the quarterfinals, she defeated top seeded and world No. 8, Vera Zvonareva, who was forced to retire with a hip injury in the third set. She lost in the semifinals to Maria Kirilenko. In Doha, Cîrstea beat Jarmila Gajdošová in the first round. In the second round she lost to third seed Samantha Stosur. Sorana paired with Anne Keothavong in doubles, but they lost in first round to Anabel Medina Garrigues and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. At the Whirlpool Abierto de Monterrey, Cîrstea was the third seed in the tournament and received a wildcard in singles. In the first round she defeated Stefanie Vögele in three sets. Sorana lost in second round to eventual champion Tímea Babos.[23] Cîrstea was the 48th seed at the BNP Paribas Open. She defeated Iveta Benešová in the first round, losing in the second to Agnieszka Radwańska. In Miami, she lost a first-round match to wildcard Heather Watson in three sets.

At the Barcelona Ladies Open, her first tournament on clay, Sorana was the 47th seed. In the first round, she beat Polona Hercog after she retired due to dizziness. Sorana defeated Lourdes Domínguez Lino in the second round. In quarterfinals, Cîrstea beat Olga Govortsova. She lost in her first semifinal of the tournament to Dominika Cibulková. In Stuttgart at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Cîrstea lost in the first round to Anna Chakvetadze. At the Estoril Open, she lost in the first round to Silvia Soler Espinosa. At the Mutua Madrid Open, Sorana upset seventh seed Marion Bartoli in the first round. She lost in the second round to Anabel Medina Garrigues At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia Cîrstea defeated Jelena Janković in the first round and Sofia Arvidsson in the second before losing in three sets to Petra Kvitová. At the 2012 French Open in Roland Garros, Sorana lost in the first round to Li Na. In doubles, she partnered with Ayumi Morita and they lost in first round to Pennetta/Schiavone 2–6, 0–2 due to Morita's retirement.

Cîrstea began her grass season at the Aegon Classic. As the No. 10 seed, she lost in the first round to qualifier Melanie Oudin. In doubles Sorana partnered with Anne Keothavong and they lost in first round to Zhang Shuai/Zheng Jie. In Eastbourne at the Aegon International, Sorana lost in the first round to defending champion No. 4 seed, Marion Bartoli. At Wimbledon, Cîrstea defeated Pauline Parmentier in the first round. Sorana beat the 11th seed Li Na in the second round but lost to Maria Kirilenko. In doubles, Sorana and Ayumi Morita lost in first round to Casey Dellacqua/Sam Stosur. She competed in the women's singles and the women's doubles (with Simona Halep) at the 2012 Summer Olympics, but was eliminated in round one in both events.[8]

At the Bank of the West Classic, Sorana as the ninth seed in the tournament beat Vania King in the first round and lucky loser Zheng Saisai in the second.[24] In the third round she defeated third seed Dominika Cibulková in three sets.[25] Cîrstea lost in the semifinals to Serena Williams in straight sets.[26] At the US Open, Cîrstea defeated 16th seed Sabine Lisicki in the first round. In the second round, she lost to Anna Tatishvili in three sets. In the Guangzhou Open Cîrstea advanced to the semifinals before losing to Laura Robson.

2013: First Premier 5 final and career-best ranking at No. 21[edit]

Cîrstea at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open

Sorana began the year at the 2013 ASB Classic where she lost her opener to Heather Watson. The following week, she defeated Nina Bratchikova before losing to Lauren Davis in the second round at Hobart. Cîrstea reached the third round of the Australian Open losing to Li Na. She then followed it up with a semifinal showing at the Pattaya Open losing to eventual champion Maria Kirilenko. She then reached the third round at Indian Wells where she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska. At the Sony Open in Miami, Cîrstea made the 4th round after defeating Angelique Kerber in straight sets. She fell to Jelena Janković (0–6, 4–6) in the next round. At the French Open, she reached the third round losing to world No. 1 and eventual champion, Serena Williams. She then reached the quarterfinal of the Aegon Classic falling to Donna Vekić. Cîrstea lost to Camila Giorgi in the second round at Wimbledon.

She began the US Open Series with a semifinal at the Bank of the West Classic losing to Dominika Cibulková and a quarterfinal at the Citi Open losing to Alizé Cornet. In the Rogers Cup en route to reaching her first final in five years, Cîrstea beat two former number-one players, Caroline Wozniacki (5–7, 7–6, 6–4) and Jelena Janković (6–3, 6–4), and former Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitová (4–6, 7–5, 6–2) and Li Na (6–1, 7–6). She lost to top-seeded Serena Williams in the final, 2–6, 0–6. She then withdrew from the Western & Southern Open citing a back injury, and later retired from her first round match at the New Haven Open at Yale while trailing 3–0 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She had reached now the 21st place in the WTA rankings.

At the US Open, she defeated qualifier Sharon Fichman before then being upset by qualifier Kurumi Nara 7–5, 6–1 in the second round. Her next tournament was the Guangzhou International Women's Open where she suffered another early-round loss, this time to Bojana Jovanovski 2–6, 1–6. She advanced to the second round of the Pan Pacific Open after beating Julia Görges. She then defeated Misaki Doi before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round. She then lost her opening matches at Beijing and Linz to Bojana Jovanovski and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner.

By the end of the year, she had lost her No. 1 Romanian position to rising star Simona Halep.

2014: Injuries and Fed Cup success[edit]

Sorana Cirstea at the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open

Being ranked 22nd in the WTA rankings, Cîrstea began 2014 by losing her openers at Auckland to qualifier Sharon Fichman and at the Apia International Sydney to qualifier and eventual champion Tsvetana Pironkova. At the Australian Open, Cîrstea was the 21st seed, but she was defeated in the first round by Marina Erakovic. Cîrstea then reached her first quarterfinal of the year at the Pattaya Open where she was seeded third. She beat Anna Karolína Schmiedlová and Alison Riske before losing to eventual finalist Karolína Plíšková in three sets.

At the 2014 Qatar Total Open, she defeated qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva in the first round. Then, she faced second seed Agnieszka Radwańska in the second round and lost. The following week at Dubai, she defeated Roberta Vinci in the first round and fourth seed Sara Errani in the second round for a place in her second quarterfinal of the year. She subsequently lost to eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinal (1–6, 2–6). Cîrstea was the 25th seed at both the BNP Paribas Open and the Sony Open Tennis. She lost in the second round at both tournaments to qualifier Camila Giorgi and Tsvetana Pironkova. Cîrstea had received first-round byes from both tournaments. She was the eighth seed at the Family Circle Cup, but she lost in the second round to Teliana Pereira. Cîrstea had a first-round bye there as well.

Despite the poor form in WTA tournaments, in April, Cîrstea made a big contribution in 2014 Fed Cup World Group II Play-offs, helping Romania promote to World Group II after defeating Serbia 4–1, with Cîrstea winning both her ties against Ana Ivanovic and Bojana Jovanovski.

At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Cîrstea lost in the first round to German wildcard Julia Görges. She took fifth seed Petra Kvitová to three sets in their opener at the Madrid Open but still lost 1–6, 7–5, 6–7. Then, Cîrstea succumbed to American qualifier Christina McHale in the first round at the Internazionali d'Italia. Cîrstea managed to end her losing streak at the French Open where she was the 26th seed. In the first round, she beat qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak and then Teliana Pereira. Cîrstea lost in the third round to sixth seed Jelena Janković, 1–6, 2–6.

At the Wimbledon Championships, Cîrstea was the 29th seed. In the first round, she lost to young American qualifier Victoria Duval. Cîrstea was the top seed at Baku Cup and defeated Tunisian wildcard Ons Jabeur in the first round but then lost to eventual semifinalist Stefanie Vögele 1–6, 1–6. Cîrstea was the eighth seed at the Citi Open. She defeated Kiki Bertens in the first round but then lost to Bojana Jovanovski. At the Rogers Cup, Cîrstea fell to 15th seed Lucie Šafářová in the first round failing to defend her finalist points from the year before. At the 2014 Western & Southern Open, Cîrstea lost in the 1st round to ninth seed and eventual finalist Ana Ivanovic. After Cincinnati, Cîrstea got a wildcard for qualifying at the Connecticut Open. In the first round of qualifying, Cîrstea beat Alison Van Uytvanck. In the second round of qualifying, Cîrstea lost to seventh seed Kaia Kanepi, in three sets.

At the US Open, Cîrstea easily beat Heather Watson in the first round 6–1, 6–1. In the second round, Cîrstea lost to seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard. At the Guangzhou International Open, she lost in the first round to qualifier Petra Martić 6–7, 1–6. At the Wuhan Open, Cîrstea lost in the first round of qualifying to top seed Zarina Diyas. Cîrstea's final tournament of the year was the China Open where she fell in the first round of qualifying to ninth seed Ajla Tomljanović.

At the end of the year, Cîrstea claimed that she had persistent small injuries particularly afflicting her shoulder.

Cîrstea ended 2014 ranked 93 in her seventh straight top-100 season.

2015: Out of the top 100[edit]

Cîrstea was scheduled to start her season off at the Shenzhen Open, but she withdrew due to a shoulder injury. Her first tournament of the year was at the Australian Open. She lost in the first round to qualifier Alexandra Panova.[27] As a result, Cîrstea fell out of the top 100 for the first time since 2008.

In February, Cîrstea competed at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic, a $100k event located in Midland, Michigan. As the second seed, Cîrstea was defeated in the first round by American Jessica Pegula.[28] During March, Cîrstea played at the Miami Masters. Despite getting a wildcard to be in the main draw, Christina McHale beat her in the first round.[29] The week after Miami, Cîrstea stayed in Florida to play at the USTA Pro Circuit Event in Osprey, Florida. She lost in the first round in straight sets to Danka Kovinić.

Cîrstea competed next at the Copa Colsanitas. Her woes continued as she suffered another first round loss, this time at the hands of eighth seed Irina Falconi. However, partnering with Yaroslava Shvedova in doubles, she won her first match of the year by beating Mandy Minella/Olga Savchuk in the first round.[30] Then, they lost to the eventual champions Paula Cristina Gonçalves/Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil in the quarterfinals. In May, Cîrstea traveled to France to compete at the Open Engie Saint-Gaudens Midi-Pyrénées, an $60k event in Saint-Gaudens. Here, she lost in the first round in three sets to Wang Yafan. With the French Open starting on Sunday, May twenty-fourth, Cîrstea traveled to Paris to play qualifying in order to qualify for the main draw. She won both of her qualifying matches to get to the final round of qualifying. Unfortunately, she suffered a straight set loss in the final round of qualifying to Verónica Cepede Royg.[31] Due to not qualifying for the French Open, Cîrstea broke her streak of main draw appearances dating back to the 2008 Australian Open.

Since she had no success at the French Open, Cîrstea went to Italy to play at the Internazionali di Brescia, an $50k event. Even though she was the fourth seed, she was defeated in the first round by Italian qualifier Claudia Giovine. After the tournament in Brescia, Cîrstea stayed in Italy to compete at the $25k event in Padua. She easily won her first round match over Giorgia Marchetti.[32] She then lost in the second round to qualifier Petra Uberalová. Next, Cîrstea went back to France to play the Open Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole Hérault, a $50k+H event in Montpellier. Here, Cîrstea lost in the first round to fourth seed Richèl Hogenkamp.

Trying to qualify for the main draw, Cîrstea played qualifying for the Wimbledon Championships. She won her first round over Naomi Osaka. She then lost in the next round to fourth seed Sachia Vickery.[33]

Due to no success at Wimbledon, Cîrstea competed at the Lorraine Open 88, a $100k event in Contrexéville, France. She reached the quarterfinals at this event beating fourth seed and compatriot Andreea Mitu and Donna Vekić. She was defeated in the quarterfinals by eighth seed and eventual finalist Yulia Putintseva. Next, she traveled to her country to play at the Bucharest Open; she also was given a wildcard into the main draw. Cîrstea started the tournament with a straight set victory over Sesil Karatantcheva.[34] In the second round, she lost to compatriot Andreea Mitu in three sets.[35] At the Powiat Poznański Open, a $75k event in Sobota, Poland, Cîrstea suffered a straight set loss in the second round to third seed Richèl Hogenkamp. The week of August 10 saw Cîrstea compete at the first edition of the Advantage Cars Prague Open, a $75k event in Prague. She beat Czech Tereza Martincová in the first round. In the second round, she lost a tough three set match to wild card Petra Cetkovská. Cîrstea failed to qualify for the US Open; she lost in the final round of qualifying to Mayo Hibi.[36]

Cîrstea fell in the first round of qualifying at the Japan Women's Open to third seed María Teresa Torró Flor. Her final tournament of the year was at the Ankara Cup, a $50k event in Ankara, Turkey. She lost in the first round to fifth seed İpek Soylu.[37]

Cîrstea ended the year ranked 244.

2016: Comeback to top 100 and first Premier Mandatory quarterfinals[edit]

Cîrstea began the year as world No. 244. In January, she played at $25k tournaments in Guaruja and Bertioga, both Brazil. In Guaruja, she beat Oleksandra Korashvili, Rebecca Šramková, Jil Teichmann, and third seed Beatriz Haddad Maia before losing to Montserrat Gonzalez in three sets in the final.[38] At Bertioga, she beat Sandra Zaniewska, Victoria Bosio, Jil Teichmann and Rebecca Šramková before beating Catalina Pella in the final.[39] It was the first tournament win after a period of almost four years.

In February, Cîrstea returned to the WTA Tour by playing at the Rio Open. As a wildcard, she reached the semifinals with straight victories against Brazilian wildcard Beatriz Haddad Maia, fifth seed Polona Hercog, and third seed Danka Kovinić. Cîrstea lost in the semifinals to Shelby Rogers.[40] Her performance moved her ranking from 199 to 153. Also in February, she played at a $25k tournament in São Paulo. She defeated Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, Martina Caregaro, and Jil Teichmann en route to the semifinals where she lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo.

In March, Cîrstea traveled to Miami to compete at the Miami Masters. Receiving a wildcard for qualifying, she lost in the final round of qualifying to 17th seed Francesca Schiavone. Also in March, Sorana played at the Engie Open de Seine-et-Marne, an $50k event in Croissy-Beaubourg, France. She defeated Elitsa Kostova, Josephine Boualem, and Andreea Mitu en route to the semifinals, where she lost to second seed Pauline Parmentier.[41]

Cîrstea kicked off her clay-court season at the İstanbul Cup. Seeded fifth for qualifying, she made it to the main draw beating Turkish wildcards Pemra Özgen and Başak Eraydın. In the main draw, she upset third seed and defending champion Lesia Tsurenko in the first round.[42] In the second round, she lost to eventual champion Çağla Büyükakçay.[43] Cîrstea successfully qualified for the Prague Open defeating Karolína Beránková, Anastasiya Komardina, and Amandine Hesse. She lost in the first round in three sets to the fourth seed and eventual finalist Sam Stosur.[44] Receiving a wild card for the Madrid Open, Cîrstea reached the quarterfinals beating Jelena Jankovic, Danka Kovinić and Laura Siegemund en route. In the quarterfinals, she faced Dominika Cibulková and lost in three sets.[45] Cîrstea qualified for the French Open defeating Zhang Yuxuan, Jana Čepelová, and Elise Mertens. She lost in the first round to 18th seed Elina Svitolina.[46]

Cîrstea started her grass-court season at the first edition of the Mallorca Open. Seeded second for qualifying, she won all of her matches to advance to the main draw beating Valentyna Ivakhnenko, Sesil Karatantcheva, and Mandy Minella. She advanced to the quarterfinals defeating fifth seed Yulia Putintseva and wild card Daniela Hantuchová. She lost in the quarterfinals to second seed Jelena Janković.[47] Cîrstea played in her final tournament before Wimbledon at the International Eastbourne. She retired during her first round of qualifying match over seventh seed Varvara Lepchenko. At the Wimbledon Championships, Cîrstea was defeated in the first round by tenth seed and two time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitová.[48]

After Wimbledon, Cîrstea played at the Reinert Open, a $50k event in Versmold, Germany. As the second seed, she made it to the semifinals beating qualifier Andrea Gámiz, Nadia Podoroska, and eighth seed Lesley Kerkhove. She lost her semifinal match to Antonia Lottner.[49] Competing at the Swedish Open, Cîrstea lost in the first round to fourth seed Annika Beck.[50]

Cîrstea played only two tournaments during the US Open Series. At the Western & Southern Open, she lost in the final round of qualifying to seventh seed Alizé Cornet. At the Connecticut Open, she lost in the second round of qualifying to Louisa Chirico.[51] Playing at the US Open, she lost in the first round to compatriot Ana Bogdan in three sets.[52]

After the US Open, Cîrstea competed at the Open de Biarritz, a $100k event in France. As the second seed, she advanced to the semifinals where she lost to eighth seed Rebecca Šramková. During the last week of September, Cîrstea played at the Tashkent Open. As the seventh seed, she was defeated in the first round by Francesca Schiavone.[53] Playing at the Generali Ladies Linz in Austria, Cîrstea upset sixth seed Kiki Bertens in the first round.[54] She lost in the second round to French qualifier Océane Dodin.[55] Her last WTA event of the year was at the BGL Luxembourg Open where she lost in the first round to qualifier Tereza Smitková.

Cîrstea's final two tournaments of the season were on the ITF Circuit. At the Internationaux de la Vienne in Poitiers, France, she lost in the first round to Anett Kontaveit. Playing her last tournament of 2016 at the Open de Limoges, she was defeated in the second round by Tamara Korpatsch.

Cîrstea ended the year ranked 81.

2017: Australian Open round of 16[edit]

Cîrstea started her 2017 season at the Shenzhen Open. She defeated Kristína Kučová in the first round before losing to top seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwańska in the second round.[56] Cîrstea made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career defeating Irina Khromacheva, tenth seed Carla Suárez Navarro, and Alison Riske in the first three rounds before losing to seventh seed Garbiñe Muguruza.[57]

Her next tournament was the Taiwan Open. Cirstea retired midway through her first-round match against Risa Ozaki due to a left wrist injury.[58] She returned from injury to be a part of the Romanian team at the Fed Cup World Group II against Belgium. She lost the second rubber against Yanina Wickmayer in a close three-setter which went on for 3 hours & 22 minutes.[59] Even though Romania lost the tie against Belgium, she won her doubles match teaming up with Monica Niculescu.

After making first-round exits at the Hungarian Ladies Open and at Indian Wells, she won her first singles match in nearly two months against Monica Puig in the first round of the Miami Open. Cîrstea fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. She made the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open where she lost to Kristina Mladenovic, and the semifinals of the Nuremberg Cup. At the French Open she lost to 21st seed Carla Suárez Navarro in the second round.

Cîrstea reached the third round of Wimbledon before bowing out to Muguruza.

Accolades[edit]

In 2011, MSN recognized Cîrstea as one of the most beautiful women in sports.[60] Bleacher Report also recognized her as one of the "25 Tennis Players You Have to Follow" on Twitter.[61]

Career statistics[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A P Z# PO G F-S SF-B NMS NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (P) postponed; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Grand Slam singles performance timelines[edit]

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR W–L
Australian Open A 1R 1R 2R 2R 3R 3R 1R 1R A 4R 2R 1R 2R 0 / 12 11–12
French Open A 2R QF 1R 3R 1R 3R 3R Q3 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R 0 / 12 13–12
Wimbledon Q2 2R 3R 1R 1R 3R 2R 1R Q2 1R 3R 2R 1R NH 0 / 11 9–11
US Open Q1 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R 2R 2R Q3 1R 2R 2R 3R 3R 0 / 12 12–12
Win–Loss 0–0 3–4 8–4 1–4 3–4 5–4 6–4 3–4 0–1 0–3 7–4 3–4 3–4 3–3 0 / 47 45–47

Grand Slam doubles performance timelines[edit]

Tournament 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
16
2017 2018 2019 2020 SR W–L
Australian Open A 2R 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R A 1R 3R 2R A 0 / 9 5–9
French Open 3R 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R 1R A 1R 3R A A 0 / 9 5–9
Wimbledon 2R 2R A 3R 1R 1R A A A 1R 2R NH 0 / 7 5–7
US Open 2R 3R 2R 2R 1R 1R 2R A 3R 1R A A 0 / 9 8–9
Win–Loss 4–3 4–4 1–3 4–4 0–4 1–4 1–3 0–0 2–3 4–4 2–2 0–0 0 / 34 23–34

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External links[edit]