COD PORTOCALIU: 24-02-2018 ora 13 Intre 26 februarie, ora 03 – 01 martie, ora 10 se va semnala temperaturi foarte scăzute, atât noaptea, cât și ziua
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Romania's Sorana Cirstea, WTA 38th, defeated on Saturday 6-2, 6-2 Canadian Carol Zhao (138th WTA), bringing Romania a 1 - 0 lead over Canada after the first match of the Fed Cup World Group II first-round tie played on the indoor hard court of the Cluj Napoca Multipurpose Hall.
Cirstea and Zhao, each the best player of their respective team, squared off for the first time, with Cirstea categorically dominating the entire match. The only moment when the Canadian seemed to live up to her opponent's performance was in the first set when she leveled from 0 - 2 and also managed her only break. But after that Sorana Cirstea took hold of the game and closed the first set 6-2 in just 28 minutes.
There was a clear difference of class between the sides in the second set too, when Sorana Cirstea shot off to a 3-0 lead. Zhao narrowed the difference to 3-1 then the score advanced to 4-2, but that was all she could do. Relying on a strong serve and solid play, Cirstea claimed the second set 6-2, much to the enthusiasm of the more than 6,000 spectators who erupted in applause at the end.
Sorana Cirstea landed 2 aces as to one - her Canadian opponent, and had a first-serve percentage of 65 as to 58 for Carol Zhao. As for break point opportunities, the Romanian player converted 5 out of 7, while Zhao only 1 of 4.
Romania's top-class Simona Halep watched the game from the stands, as she was rendered unable to step on court by an ankle injury sustained at the Australian Open.
Romanian Irina Begu (27, WTA's 37th) and Canada's Bianca Andreescu (a 17-year old of Romanian descent) are to play in the second match.
The match between Begu and Zhao is scheduled for Sunday noon, followed by the Cirstea - Andreescu encounter. The pairings Ana Bogdan/Raluca Olaru, Katherina Sebov/Gabriela Dabrowski will battle in the doubles, but changes could occur depending on the results.
At the last Fed Cup meeting between Romania and Canada, which took place in Montreal in 2015, Romania won 3-2 and booked their ticket into the elite World Group. The Canadian team is currently ranked 15th in the world, while Romania is ranked 12th. The winner of this encounter will qualify for the World Group II play-offs in April 2018. AGERPRES (RO - author: Marius Tone, editor: Mihai Tenea; EN - author/editor: Simona Klodnischi)