The main sporting event of the second half of
2018 was the tennis tournament in Wimbledon, a competition that ended with
lackluster results for the Romanian delegation. The odds-on favourite of the
women's singles contest, Romanian Simona Halep, was defeated by Su-Wei Hsieh of
Taiwan 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the competition's third round. It was Halep's main
defeat after the Grand Slam trophy she had won at Roland Garros.
The next major competition was the BRD Open,
the only major WTA tennis tournament hosted by Romania. The singles contest was
won by Latvian challenger Anastasija Sevastova who outperformed Petra Martic of
Croatia in the finals 7-6, 6-2. Irina Begu and Andreea Mitu emerged as winners
of the doubles contest after securing a two-set win 6-3, 6-4 against Danka
Kovinic of Montenegro and Maryna Zanevska of Belgium.
The most important performance of July was secured
by fencer Ana Maria Popescu who won silver in the epee event of the World
Fencing Championships held in Wuxi, China. The Romanian successively defeated
Kanna Oishi of Japan, Italian Rossella Fiamingo, Joan Feybi Bejura and Olena
Krivitka. The Romanian outperformed Courtney Hurley of the United States in the
semis but lost to Italian Maria Navarria in the finals. Ana Maria Popescu thus
clinched her best performance in a World Championship.
Rowers from Romania in August found
themselves among the European rowing elite as the delegation representing us at
the European Championships in Glasgow stepped onto the first step of the podium
in the nations standings with no less than seven medals out of which three
gold, two silver and two bronze. The Romanian women's pair and eight walked
away with gold, and so did the Romanian men's four. The Romanian men's double
scull and our women's four stepped onto the podium's second step, while the
Romanian men's eight and pair became bronze medalists.
Romanian tennis player Mihaela Buzarnescu
reaped the first WTA title in her career with a 6-1, 6-0 win against Maria
Sakkari of Greece in the finals of the San Jose tournament. The victory earned
Buzarnescu a place among the world's top 20 players for the first time in her
Romania's best tennis player Simona Halep made
it to the finals of the tennis tournament in Cincinnati where she conceded
defeat 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 to Kiki Bertens in a match that lasted for more than two
hours. The pair made up of Romanian Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer of the
Netherlands qualified for the semifinals of the men's doubles in the same
tennis tournament. The same Romanian-Dutch pair later won the tournament in
Winston-Salem after a 6-4, 6-2 win against American Jamie Cerretani and Leander
Paes of India.
In September rowers from Romania walked away
with two medals, silver and gold, from the World's Rowing Championship hosted
by the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. The crew made up of Ionela - Livia Cozmiuc
and Gianina - Elena Beleaga reaped gold in the lightweight women's double-scull
race, with the United States and the Netherlands coming second and third
respectively. The Romanian pair Marius Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa stepped onto
the podium's second step after a race won by Croatia with France coming in
The city of Cluj in western Romania saw a
Davis Cup match between the teams of Romania and Poland who were vying for a
better position in Group 1 of the Europe/Africa zone. The match was won by
The month of September was of good omen for
table tennis players from Romania; Ovidiu Ionescu became silver medalist in the
men's event of the European Championships hosted by Alicante in Spain. Ionescu
thus equaled the performance obtained by Radu Negulescu in Zagreb in 1960.
In October, the Romanian champions in women's
handball CSM Bucharest started off on the right foot in the present edition of
the Champions League with a 36-31 win against the Hungarian challenger
Ferencvaros Budapest. Cristina Neagu was the best scorer of the Romanian side
with 9 goals in the game.
Also in October, Bucharest saw the largest
athletic contest annually hosted by Romania. Roughly 20 thousand athletes
participated in the International Bucharest marathon at its 11th
edition. The trophy went to Kenyan runner Hosea Kipkemboi and to Almaz Gelana
Erba of Ethiopia, who won the women's contest. Maxim Raileanu of the Republic
of Moldova and Maria Magdalena Veliscu of Romania won the half-marathon race.
In late October, Marius Copil came very close
to the best individual performance in Romanian tennis of the past decade. Copil
lost the ATP 500 finals in Basel, Switzerland, to Swiss challenger Roger
Federer who secured a two-set win 7-6, 6-4. On his way to the finals Copil had outperformed
six opponents on higher positions in the world ranking, such as Marin Cilic of
Croatia, number six and German Alexander Zverev, the world's number five at
that time, whom he defeated in the semifinals.
In early November Tecau and Rojer made it to
the doubles finals of the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris, a competition with roughly
5 million euros in prize money. Unfortunately, the two lost in the finals to
Spanish Marcel Granollers and Rajeev Ram of the USA 6-4, 6-4.
The delegation that represented Romania at
the World's Weightlifting Championships came back home with three medals.
Loredana Toma won silver in the snatch event of the 64-kilogram category and
Cristina Iovu became bronze medalist in the 55-kilogram category. Nicolae Onica
reaped bronze in the total event of the 96-kilogram category.
Also in November, Romania's rugby side
secured a 36-6 win in a tie match against Portugal for a place in Rugby Europe
Championship. We recall that following a World Rugby decision to boot out Romania
from Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and penalize it with 25 points for having
fielded an ineligible player in the qualification tournament, Romania is
currently on the last position in Rugby Europe Championship 2018 and had to
play the match against Portugal, winner of Rugby Europe Trophy 2018.
The month of December was dominated by the
European Women's Handball Championships, where the Romanian side came fourth.
Our handballers conceded a 20-24 defeat against the Netherlands in a match
counting for the third position in the competition. The best Romanian player
was Crina Pintea who also got included in the competition all-star team as the
best pivot. A place among Europe's best handball squads has secured plane
tickets for our handballers at the World Championship due in Japan next year. The
European title for the first time went to France who defeated Russia in the
finals 24-21. (Translated by D. Bilt)