Sorana Cirstea Makes Dream Run in Toronto – See Her in New Haven!

by Nicholas McCarvel

WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party - ArrivalsLong knocking on the door of tennis’ upper echelon, 23-year-old Sorana Cirstea had a major breakthrough last week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating former world No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic before taking out 2011 Wimbledon winner and reigning New Haven Open title holder Petra Kvitova and 2011 French Open champion Li Na en route to the final,  where she lost to top seed Serena Williams.

MORE: Cirstea and Other Players to Watch | 5 Minutes with Angelique Kerber

It brought the Romanian to a career-high No. 21 ranking and after she withdrew from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinatti on Tuesday she’ll have one more chance to fine-tune her game this summer before the U.S. Open: at the New Haven Open at Yale next week.

Cirstea recalled one touching moment in her win over top 10 regular Kvitova when her sometimes coach, ESPN analyst and adidas consultant Darren Cahill, came to courtside to chat with her.

“He came at 4-3 in the second set, and he pointed at a little girl in the stands and said, ‘Where does she want to be?'” Cirstea said. “I said, ‘Here in my place playing.’ So he said, ‘Okay, so that’s why you are here. That’s why you have been doing all the work. That’s why you have been sacrificing everything for these moments. There is no other place in the world where you’d rather be.'”

There was no place Cirstea wanted to be either, as she closed out Kvitova in three sets. She would beat Li, a semifinalist at the 2011 New Haven Open, in straight sets in the semifinals before succumbing to Williams, the world No. 1.

“It’s been a really positive week, and I’m going to take everything that’s been going well with me to the next tournament,” Cirstea said. “I think I’ve made great steps in the past weeks – I’ve played semis, quarters, finals here – so I’m looking forward to everything coming up and also the US Open.”

Cirstea first made waves on the WTA in 2009, when she made the quarterfinals of the French Open as a 19-year-old, registering wins over Jankovic and Wozniacki in that tournament, as well, before bowing out to Sam Stosur. She owns one career title, captured in Tashkent in 2008.

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