Miami Open: Sorana Cirstea celebrates huge milestone; bests Aryna Sabalenka in last-8

Aryna Sabalenka's now lost her third match of the year

by Abbey Johnson
Miami Open: Sorana Cirstea celebrates huge milestone; bests Aryna Sabalenka in last-8

Sorana Cirstea produced a massive upset at the Miami Open in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. The Romanian ousted second seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 25 minutes to reach the semi-final. Sabalenka put in 61% of her first-serve points to Cirstea’s 49%.

But the Romanian won 85% of her first-serve points to Sabalenka’s 68%. Both players won around 40% of her second-serve points but Cirstea still fared better than Sabalenka, winning 46% to the latter’s 41%. Both opponents had seven aces each but Sabalenka’s game unravelled with six double faults that were four more than Cirstea’s two.

The second-ranked player in the world had five more winners than Cirstea’s 16. But the eventual winner of the match had 12 fewer unforced errors than Sabalenka’s 21. Cirstea finished the match with 60 points to Sabalenka’s 52.

Miami Open: The uncontrollable emotions of Sorana Cirstea

After the match, the 74th-ranked Cirstea said, “I think I'm a bit speechless. I came out knowing that it's going to be a really tough match. Aryna hits so hard, so I knew I had to hold my ground, and I'm very, very happy with my performance today.

I guess people like to keep count of the age, the years, the results, but I never do that. I just mind my own business, work hard, do my thing, believe in my game… I'm not defined by numbers. I'm just trying to keep my head down and work hard”.

Cirstea’s win is mammoth also considering how far apart her previous semi-final at this stage and this present run has been. Cirstea was 23 when she reached the semi-final (and then, later, the final) of the Montreal Open in Toronto in 2012.

Serena Williams went on to win title, eventually. Meanwhile, Cirstea now awaits either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Petra Kvitova. Their quarter-final match that was scheduled for the evening session on Wednesday had to be scheduled again for Thursday due to rains. Photo Credit: The Tennis Letter Twitter

Miami Open Sorana Cirstea Aryna Sabalenka