ROMANIA began Hyundai Hopman Cup XXII with an upset win over Australia and Sorana Cirstea and Victor Hanescu are now excited at what could be in store this week in Perth.
Cirstea lost the first set to world No. 13 Samantha Stosur, but the 45th ranked 19-year-old toughed it out to win in three. She did beat Jelena Jankovic, Agnieska Radwanska, Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova during 2009, so Stosur wasn’t the highest ranked player she’s beaten, but she was still delighted with her effort to come back and win.
“It’s not about that I beat a player that is No. 13 because I’ve beat higher, but I beat Sam who I’ve never won against in my life. I’ve played her two times and she won both of them and then also coming after an injury and having less than 20 days of practice before I came here it’s more than I expected,” Cirstea said.
“She was playing very solidly and in the second set I started to especially read her serve and that was the key. Then I was fighting a lot and just hung in there, and was aggressive.”
Cirstea also starred in Romania’s mixed doubles win and it was the first time she had ever played it, making her efforts even more impressive and enjoyable for her.
“It was the first time I was playing mixed in my life so I did not really know what to expect,” she said.
“I went out there with no expectations just trying to do my best to keep my side and maybe let him do a bit more. I really enjoyed it and also the result was great, so it was a good day.”
Romania will now take on Spain on Tuesday night and the USA on Thursday, and Cirstea is looking forward to it.
“We’ve played the No. 1 seeds now and beat Australia who is an unbelievable team, and of course now we will try and stay the same by practicing well and recovering from this long day. Hopefully when we play against Spain we have a lot of energy and motivation.”
Hanescu lost his singles match to Hewitt in a third-set tie-break, but was happy with his performance to push the former world No. 1 before he suffered from some cramp late in the match.
“Of course we are very happy to win our first match here at Hopman Cup. We played against Australia, a very strong team, with very good players and we’re very happy,” Hanescu said.
“I played very well and I’m happy with how I played in the first match of the year. I’m a little bit tired because I came here three days ago, so I’m not 100 per cent fit right now. It was a great match.
“I started the first set with good energy and I had some chances with two or three break points, but finally he played better. I’m happy with the way I played and it was a good match.”
His cramp got to a point where he even fired off an under-arm serve during the third set tie-break, and it wasn’t his first time.
“I last did one in Paris and I won the point there.”
Romania looked terrific in the mixed doubles and Hanescu was glad he and Cirstea came out with the win despite the difficulties in adjusting to the Perth heat from the Romanian winter.
“We just went there to play and I tried my best. I was really tired, but finally we managed to win,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for us to come here and play, especially because it’s very humid. It was very hot for me and that’s why I was getting very tired at the end of the match.
“It’s still tight right now, but I will get a massage and some minerals, and some fluids and I hope to be well for the next few matches.”
Sorana played an exh. match against Spain with Pat Cash
AUSTRALIAN tennis great Pat Cash didn’t intend on playing tennis on his return to the Hyundai Hopman Cup as this year’s VIP Guest, but he did just that as he partnered Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the mixed doubles last night against Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Tommy Robredo.
Cash’s returned to Perth as VIP Guest after he played at Hopman Cup I and III, and that entailed speaking at the Topspin Club on Friday night, stints in the commentary box with ABC TV and taking in all of the action, but it took another twist after Victor Hanescu’s injury last night.
The Romanian was unable to finish his singles match with Tommy Robredo or take part in the mixed doubles, so who better to step up to the plate than the 1987 Wimbledon champion.
It has been a big few months for the 19-year-old Romanian. Cirstea met her idol Steffi Graf in Las Vegas last year and even hit with her and on several occasions with Graf’s husband Andre Agassi.
Add Cash to those names and her learning experience couldn’t be better. While Cash and Cirstea lost the hit out on the Burswood Dome, it was an enjoyable way to end the evening for those on and off the court. The Spaniards won eight games to four.
Cash also has the credentials to comment on this year’s Hopman Cup given he partnered Hana Mandlikova to make the Final at the first tournament and then played with Liz Smylie in 1991. He says this year’s Hyundai Hopman Cup is one of the closest he has seen, unable to pick a winner.
“There’s been some really tight matches and Spain pulled off an upset, or a minor upset I suppose, they played fantastic,” Cash said.
The mixed doubles has been the decider in three of the Ties and has been difficult for the players to get used to as most did not have time to train together. The players have been enjoying the mixed doubles with some of them choosing this tournament because of the extra match.
No she didn't, as long she's sponsored by adidas she will be part of adidas team. But adidas development team helps all the adidas players so Sorana needed a coach of her own...I remember when Sorana played against Wozniacki, at RG, Groeneveld or any other adidas team member, wasn't allowed to give advices before the match to any of the two players. Adidas team is complementary to the players team not the players team..
Apparently Sorana is no longer a part of the Adidas team
according to their blog:
After finishing the meeting and going over the schedule, Mats and I went over to see one of our players from last year, Sorana Cirstea
Sorana is now working with the Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris, France. Our team is different because we are a team of advisers and consultants and advise players and their teams on their on- and off-court development. The Mouratoglou team is a real tennis academy that supports the players year-round, and they have decided to invest into the best players in the world to create champions. They started last year and have a big group of players who are now calling Paris their home base.
Although no longer part of our team, she is still sponsored by adidas and is a player of the future. We believe with the new structure she will get more continuous support during the year, which we could not provide. Unfortunately she lost, but looking at her movement she is still a month or two away from her best. Sorana was in a cast for six weeks at the end of last year, and to see where she is now, it’s easy to see her team has done a great job to get her ready for the Oz Open.