The Associated Press SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — For a moment as she celebrated her first career title, an emotional, overjoyed Mihaela Buzarnescu stood on the court and made an apology for a tournament missing major star power.
No Serena Williams. No Venus. They each had early exits, leaving no Americans to cheer for Sunday in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
“I’m sorry that there was no American in the final but, well, I’m really happy to be on the poster next year, so that’s really amazing for me,” she said.
Just with those words, the fifth-seeded Romanian drew big applause and chuckles.
Her gracious spirit, steady strokes and entertaining play sure helped, too.
Buzarnescu is a champion at last at age 30, beating 49th-ranked Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-0 at San Jose State University.
“It really means a lot,” the No. 24-ranked Buzarnescu said. “It means all my work has paid off. It means everything.”
Buzarnescu, a left-hander who ranked No. 142 only a year ago and has come back from two knee surgeries, mixed her shots beautifully with laser groundstrokes to send Sakkari chasing down balls in the corners while adding some slice and drop shots.
Serena Williams, the Wimbledon runner-up, suffered a career-worst 6-1, 6-0 loss in her opener to Johanna Konta. Sakkari eliminated Venus Williams in the quarterfinals on Friday.