Buzarnescu upsets Ostapenko in Qatar
Mihaela Buzarnescu is surprised she is still playing tennis, but she pulled off a stunner on Wednesday by dispatching sixth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Qatar.
The 29-year-old Romanian controlled most of the match while beating the French Open champion in just 65 minutes.
Buzarnescu wasn't even ranked among the top 500 women's players in the world just 12 months ago, but she played her way into the U.S. Open and now is the owner of her first career victory over a top-10 player.
"When I started to play again last year, it was a really tough time for me," Buzarnescu said. "I was injured, and so I thought I would never play again. I wanted to quit, but my closest friends and family were supporting me, saying I had to give it one more try and to believe in myself. I just played."
Buzarnescu played well against Ostapenko with 16 winners against just 11 unforced errors. Meanwhile, the Latvian committed 21 unforced errors while bowing out quickly.
The victory left Buzarnescu in a dreamy state.
"Normally, you wouldn't believe it could happen, but I didn't think of anything, just playing match by match," Buzarnescu said. "There's so much pressure in tennis, especially as you're climbing up the rankings. I never thought I could get to this kind of place. It's so important that the people around you support you a lot."
Buzarnescu will face ninth-seeded German Julia Goerges for a spot in the quarterfinals. Goerges posted a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark didn't encounter any troubles while rolling over Germany's Carina Witthoeft 6-2, 6-0 in 57 minutes. Wozniacki next faces Romania's Monica Niculescu.
Second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania also was sharp in her first match since losing to Wozniacki in the Australian Open final. Halep cruised past Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-0 and will next face 13th-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, who defeated Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-1.
Third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Czech Republic qualifier Marketa Vondrousova. Fifth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova defeated France's Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-3. Eighth-seeded German Angelique Kerber posted a 6-4, 6-1 win against Australia's Samantha Stosur. Tenth-seeded Brit Johanna Konta beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2, and 16th-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova outlasted Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4.
Buzarnescu wasn't the only player to take down a higher seed, as 11th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France, 12th-seeded American Madison Keys, 14th-seeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova and 15th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium were also sent packing.
American CiCi Bellis took down Keys after overcoming a shaky first set and recording a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory. Bellis won the final seven games of the match.
"I think maybe halfway into the second set it started shifting a bit," Bellis said. "I think I got a little lucky on a few balls the wind took, and I think she shanked a few.
"I think that was big in the second set, and then the third I just really started to get a good rhythm, making a lot of first serves. She was attacking my first and second a lot in the first set, and then once I started making more first serves, that helped me a lot, too."
Russia's Anna Blinkova defeated Mladenovic 6-3, 6-3, and Romania's Sorana Cirstea downed Mertens 7-5, 6-4. Niculescu had a 6-7 (6), 6-2, 3-0 lead when Rybarikova retired.
--Field Level Media
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