Sorana Cirstea
Sorana Cirstea Image Credit: Courtesy: Mohanan Oruvayalil

Dubai: Sorana Cirstea, the latest champion at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge is confident she can raise her level and bag bigger and better rewards despite heading into an uncertain future.

Cirstea defeated a gutsy Katerina Siniakova 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the 23rd Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa late on Saturday.

An integral part of her preseason preparations, Cirstea is now hoping that this win will stand good for her as she plots a more definitive tennis future for 2021 and beyond.

“I am now at a point of my life where I feel I am matured enough to know what I want to do to play well and achieve goals in life. I have enough experience, and every day the goal is to try and get better,” Cirstea told Gulf News after her win.

“I am grateful that I still have the choice of playing and of winning. This win couldn’t have come at a better time as I am still quite motivated to look towards a bright future. That’s the reason I am still playing. If my level had dipped then I would have stopped long time ago, but I still think that I can be better and I can improve and that I can still make some results and that’s what keeps me working so hard even now.”

Now 30, the Romanian player achieved a career-high ranking of world No. 21 in mid-August 2013 while her career-high ranking in doubles was No. 35 in March 2009. It was during that period that Cirstea also peaked in her on-court performances with a quarter-final at the 2009 French Open.

But, more than that, her lethal and not so consistent groundstrokes, saw her scalp some of the top players in the world including Sara Errani, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, Karolina Pliskova, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki and Johanna Konta, among others.

“I feel I can be somewhere close to where I was in my career if I continue to play the way I did here this week,” Cirstea said.

“But in the first place we are left hoping for a normal calendar and we can get rid of this Covid-19. I have a Grand Slam quarter-final and for me all the Grand Slams are going to be a big target now on. But other than that, I just to be staying consistent in my play and the results will follow. The next one would be the Australian Open and if I can play like I played this week in every single tournament then I have enough motivation going ahead.

“This win here is a very big one for me considering that this has been a tough year. I have practised a lot and yet I didn’t know where my level was. It gives me great confidence heading into next year.”

The Dubai champion left for Romania to spend a few days home after which she will commence her preparations for the 2021 Australian Open.