Sorana Cirstea was left speechless after beating second seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 6-4 to move into the Miami Open semifinals and recording the best victory of her career in terms of her opponent’s ranking.
After reaching the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open earlier this month, her first quarterfinal at the WTA 1000 level since 2017, the world No.74 Cirstea continues to perform well in the United States, this time advancing to the semifinals of the Miami Open without dropping a set. The list of her victims in Miami includes big names such as Caroline Garcia, Karolina Muchova, Marketa Vondrousova and now Aryna Sabalenka.
Opening the quarterfinal with a break, Cirstea established a 3-1 lead. Even though Sabalenka managed to get the set back on serve at 4-4, she then made a double fault on Cirstea’s break point. The Romanian cruised through her service game at 5-4, sealing the first set with an ace.
The second set also started with a 2-0 lead for the unseeded Cirstea, but this time Sabalenka managed to fight back and go 3-2 up, even having an opportunity to go 4-2 up. The Belarusian’s small lead was short-lived, though, as Cirstea won three games in a row and soon afterwards recorded her fifth straight-set victory at the 2023 Miami Open.
The former world No.21 Cirstea has now reached her second WTA 1000 semifinal, after finishing runner-up at Toronto in 2013, where she fell to Serena Williams in the final. No other player ranked outside the Top 50 has won more than nine main-draw matches at the Sunshine Double.