Romanian tennis players Simona Halep and Mihaela Buzarnescu have been included by the WTA on the list of stars who defined the 2018 season. Besides the two Romanian athletes, the list includes 12 tennis players: Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens, Qiang Wang, Elina Svitolina and Arina Sabalenka.
About Simona Halep the WTA website reads: “The World No.1’s fingerprints were all over the 2018 season. Anyone who has sat down to make a list of the most memorable matches of 2018 has seen her name come up time after time, playing either star or co-star to the most riveting duels of the year. Whether it was her trio of three-set dramatics at the Australian Open against Lauren Davis, Angelique Kerber, and Caroline Wozniacki, her physical fortnight over the summer in Montreal and Cincinnati, or her gutsy effort to finally win her first major title at Roland Garros, 2018 was the year Halep stepped up and met the moment time and time again.”
WTA writes about Mihaela Buzarnescu: “Late-career resurgences are nothing new on the WTA Tour. But a late-career…surgence is beyond rare. In a sport that’s always looking for the next new thing, 30-year-old Mihaela Buzarnescu served as a stunning reminder that late-career breakthroughs can still happen.
Just two years ago, Buzarnescu was ranked outside the Top 500 and had never played the main draw at a Slam, let alone cracked the Top 100 due to injuries. Suddenly, at 28-years-old, the Romanian’s body healed and she proceeded to give her career one last shot. The results were astounding.
After mowing through the ITF circuit in 2017 and qualifying for her first WTA and Slam main draws, Buzarnescu became one of the most dangerous forces in 2018. She earned her first Top 10 win in the spring over Jelena Ostapenko in Doha and made the semifinals or better at five events. In all, she made three finals and won her first WTA title in San Jose. That win would boost Buzarnescu into the Top 20, an astounding rise from being ranked well outside the Top 100 12 months earlier.”