Hello Everyone! The year 2009 is almost over, tennistically speaking, so I wanted all of us to share our views on how we feel the various Romanian players did this year and how we view them for next year.
I will start with the professional players and then look at the Juniors.
Sorana Cîrstea – 19.5 years old. WTA ranking 46. This has certainly been a very contrasted year for her, ending WTA 46. She started the year awfully with 6 stratight 1st round defeats and then came the light, or the clay should I say. Semi-final in her first clay tournament in Marbella, followed by a few wins and a few losses and then came the apotheose, the Roland-Garros Quarter-Final, beating Cornet, Wozniacki and Jankovic! The way she played and won the match against Jankovic proved the world that she has talent, superb ground strokes, that she can hit nice winners and that she can mentally be strong!
The US hard season was of the same caliber, playing well and consistently. Unfortunately, she finished the year poorly (losing 5 times in a row in the first round) and injured. I wish her the best for 2010! She is still young, she now has the experience of playing all major tournaments, she knows she can beat most of the girls. A lot of green lights, if she is physically well and mentally also.
Alexandra Dulgheru – 20.5 years old. WTA ranking 51. What a season!!! Totally incredible, unforeseeable!! I guess most of us discovered a very nice girl, full of joy. She had a phenomenal ITF season, winning 4 titles and being extremely regular. Her WTA series matches were more disappointing except Warsaw: what an incredible, amazing result! Winning a WTA title for one of her very first appearances, playing so well, beating Hantuchova and Bondarenko was unbelievable. She has a “hand” which allows her to play with the ball. She deserves her ranking. Next year should be easier as she will play big tournaments where she could earn big points through fewer victories, however she hasn’t proven yet that she can really make it on the big circuit. I wish her all the best!
Ioana Raluca Olaru – 20.5 years old. WTA ranking 73. Many of the early comments this year were tough. She didn’t seem to play well, had some very clear defeats and some wondered if her breakout of 2008 was just a mirage. Well she managed to have some good results and maintain an ok ranking. She fought hard and recovered from her wrist injury. True she needs to gain some power and a better serve, her determination and talent could help get through this tough period and make her come out of it stronger. She is only 20.5 years old!
Monica Niculescu – 22 years old. WTA ranking 101. The atypical player had a difficult year but never felt to me like totally lost. She had a few wins that kept her around the 100 ranking, which is not so bad. Now that people got used to her game, she has to reinvent herself to last, a bit like Santoro managed to do. Good luck to her.
Edina Gallovits – 25 years old. WTA ranking 102. Edina had only a few good tournament results, while often seemed not at her place in other tournaments. Remaining in the top WTA 125 is crucial for next year.
Simona Halep – 18 years old. WTA ranking 197. “The most promising”, was I thought when she won the French Junior open, given her aggressive modern game. She did disappoint a little bit. However, it’s too early to say if she will be a disappointment like many other top junior Romanian players. She is very determined from what I hear and I continue to follow her closely, hoping that she will get a series of good victories like Dulgheru which would allow her to have a good year and confirm her potential. Haide Simona.
Irina Begu – 19 years old. WTA ranking 230. Two impressive Grand Slam qualification tournaments (French and Wimbledon) but the rest was not as good. Wish her good luck for 2010.
Agnes Szatmari – 23.5 years old. WTA ranking 250. A few good victories, but overall seems limited in order to join the top 100.
Elora Dabija – 18.5 years old. WTA ranking 306. She played junior and senior tournaments. Had some very good victories which make me optimistic for the future.
Liana Ungur – 24.5 years old. WTA ranking 382. She needed to breakout in the ranking, which she didn’t… Next year should be determinant.
Laura Ioana Andrei – 21.5 years old. WTA ranking 390. She seems to progress well since she is in France. Needs to breakout in 2010.
Mihaela Buzarnescu – 21.5 years old. WTA ranking 432. A disappointment so far, for a gifted left-hand player. She needs to go back to $10k tournaments and get a few wins.
Elena Bogdan – 17.5 years old. WTA ranking 435. Pretty good year for Elena who played Junior and Senior tournaments. She proved that she can have good wins against top 250 girls. She should aim for a top 250 breakout next year.
Simona Matei – 24 years old. WTA ranking 452. She is back after long injuries. She believes she can make it back. 2010 will be determinant.
Cristina Stancu – 19.5 years old. WTA ranking 474. Little known to me at the beginning of the year, she played well and regularly, recording 32 wins against 17 losses in 2009. Look forward to see what she can do in 2010.
Ana Bogdan – 17 years old. WTA ranking 504. She played little pro tournaments but had some decent results. Finished the year 11 in the junior world ranking. Very curious to see her program and results in 2010. Good luck.
Cristina Dinu – 16.5 years old. WTA ranking 831. She progressed very well in the junior tournaments and finished with a $10k win in October. Look forward to next year.
Juniors to watch (no particular order):
Ilinca Stoica – 16 years old. 32 wins for 10 losses in the junior tournaments, where she progressed well starting with grade 4 tournaments to end up playing grade 1.
Ilinca Bercaru – 14.5 years old. Good ranking in the -14yr rankings.
Andreea Gradinaru Fometescu – 13.5 years old. Good ranking in the -14yr rankings.
Ilka Csoregi – 13.5 years old. Very promising since she is 10. Let’s see how she plays in a 18-years old tournament.
Ioana Ducu – 13.5 years old. Good ranking in the -14yr rankings.
Claudia Enache – 15.5 years old. Good ranking in the -16yr rankings.
Andreea Badileanu – 15.5 years old. Good ranking in the -16yr rankings.
Irina Maria Bara – 14.5 years old. A promising junior.
Simona Ionescu – 15.5 years old. No 2 in Europe under 16.
Elena Cadar – 15.5 years old. No 1 in Europe under 16.
I would love to read your comments…!!!