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Buzarnescu continues remarkable run

11 January 2018, by Leigh Rogers

This time last year Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was ranked outside the world’s top 500. Now she’s into the Hobart International semifinals.

The 29-year-old is enjoying a stunning late-career revival, one that is even surprising herself.

Tonight she defeated American Alison Riske to reach her second career WTA semifinal, a result that will see her make her top 50 debut next week.

“It’s amazing, I was never expecting these results to be honest,” Buzarnescu said.

“For me it was like a miracle. I was dreaming about it since I was young, but never thought it would eventually happen.”

Riske started their quarterfinal showdown strongly, establishing a 5-2 first set lead.

Buzarnescu admitted when she was facing three set points she started thinking about a fellow Romanian player.

“I was thinking about my good friend Irina Bara, a Romanian who was playing today in Melbourne in the first round of (Australian Open) qualies,” she said.

“She was down 5-3 in the third set and she won the match. So I was saying ‘oh my god how can she do that’… so I was like I have to push myself as well.”

Buzarnescu managed to fight back, claiming the first set in a tiebreak.

The No.57-ranked Buzarnescu was dictating points, playing an aggressive game and rushing the net when she could. An overwhelmed Riske only won 11 points in a one-sided second set.

Winning 11 of the final 13 games, Buzarnescu claimed an impressive 7-6(5) 6-1 victory in 90 minutes.

It sets up a semifinal showdown with fifth seed Lesia Tsurenko in tomorrow’s semifinal.

“I’ve never played her, but I know she’s a good player,” Buzarnescu said. “I just want to enjoy and play my best tennis.”

> Tsurenko overpowers Sabalenka