Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ Final Preview
(2) 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇷🇴 Mihaela Buzarnescu
Elise Mertens will have the opportunity to defend her Hobart International title on Saturday when she comes up against the unheralded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. The Hobart International is the longest running WTA tournament to have never had a repeat winner. Elise Mertens has a good opportunity to break this record. Mertens won her first and only WTA tournament in Hobart last year where she came all the way through the qualifying draw. The Belgian rising-star will fancy her chances in Saturday’s final against Buzarnescu.
Elise Mertens has made a very good start to the 2018 season, just as she did in 2017. Mertens had a good week at the Hopman Cup where she won 2 out of 3 matches before heading down to Hobart. In Hobart Mertens cruised through her opening couple of matches against Kurumi Nara and Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets. Mertens booked her spot in Saturday final with a 6-4 1-6 6-2 win over Heather Watson. Mertens showed good maturity to rebound strongly after being outplayed in the second set by Watson.
Mihaela Buzarnescu has reached the final in Hobart without dropping a set. This time last year, Buzarnescu was ranked outside the top 500. Now at the age of 29, Buzarnescu will enter the top 50 for the first time and will contest in her first WTA level final on Sunday. Buzarnescu advanced to the final 4 in Hobart with wins over Alize Cornet, Anna-Lena Friedsam and Alison Riske. Buzarnescu’s most comfortable win came at the semi-final stage where she comprehensively outplayed a lacklustre Lesia Tsurenko to win 6-2 6-2.
Elise Mertens has won the two prior meetings between the pair, both in 2015 on clay at the ITF level. A lot has changed this then, both have dramatically risen up the rankings. Saturday’s match is huge for both ladies, who will make the most of this golden opportunity?