Irina Spîrlea

Irina Spîrlea (born 26 March 1974) is a retired tennis player from Romania who turned professional in 1990. She won four singles and six doubles titles. Spîrlea reached her career-high ranking on the WTA Tour on 13 October 1997, when she became No. 7 in the world. She retired in 2000.

Irina Spîrlea
Country (sports) Romania
ResidenceRome, Italy
Born (1974-03-26) 26 March 1974 (age 47)
Bucharest, Romania
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Turned pro1990
Retired2000
PlaysRight-handed (one handed-backhand)
Prize moneyUS$ 2,652,068
Singles
Career record291–189
Career titles4 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 7 (13 October 1997)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenQF (1997)
French Open4R (1994, 1996, 1997)
Wimbledon4R (1997, 1998)
US OpenSF (1997)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsSF (1997, 1998)
Doubles
Career record200–154
Career titles6 WTA, 5 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 16 (2 October 1995)

Personal lifeEdit

Spîrlea married Massimiliano Pace, her former coach, in 2001, and has a son, Tommaso, born in 2002, as well as a younger daughter, Francesca.[1][2]

CareerEdit

Irina Spîrlea is one of the more successful tennis players from Romania, being one of only three women to have reached the top 10 (the others being Virginia Ruzici and Simona Halep.)[3] Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was a semifinal at the US Open in 1997. She won the WTA Newcomer of the Year award in 1994.[4]

In 1996, Spîrlea became the first player in the history of the Women's Tennis Association to receive a match default for conduct when she swore at an official in Italian during a match played in Palermo, Italy.[5][6]

Spîrlea was involved in a bumping incident with Venus Williams during a changeover in the semifinals of the 1997 US Open. Spîrlea collided with Williams near the net post while changing ends, and did not move sideways. Spîrlea went on to lose the match 6–7, 6–4, 6–7 in a third-set tiebreak, after holding two match points, at 6–4 and 6–5 in the tie breaker. Williams' father accused Spîrlea of racism, and later called her "an ugly white turkey".[7] Spîrlea accused Williams of arrogance, saying in a press conference following the match, "I'm not going to move. She never tries to turn (...) She thinks she's the fucking Venus Williams."[8][9][7] Williams, however, shrugged off the confrontation saying "I thought we both weren't looking. I'm sorry she feels that way. It's not a big thing to me. No one said 'Excuse me'.[10]

WTA career finalsEdit

Singles: 10 (4 titles, 6 runner-ups)Edit

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Tier I (0–2)
Tier II (1–0)
Tier III, IV & V (3–4)
Titles by surface
Hard (0–2)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (4–3)
Carpet (0–1)
Result No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1. Sep 1993 Sapporo, Japan Carpet (i)   Linda Wild 4–6, 3–6
Loss 2. Apr 1994 Taranto Trophy, Italy Clay   Julie Halard-Decugis 2–6, 3–6
Win 1. Jul 1994 Palermo International, Italy Clay   Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 6–4, 1–6, 7–6(7–5)
Loss 3. Jan 1995 Jakarta Open, Indonesia Hard   Sabine Hack 6–2, 6–7(6–8), 4–6
Win 2. Jul 1995 Palermo International, Italy Clay   Sabine Hack 7–6(7–1), 6–2
Win 3. Apr 1996 Amelia Island Championships, U.S. Clay   Mary Pierce 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 6–3
Loss 4. Mar 1997 Indian Wells Masters, U.S. Hard   Lindsay Davenport 2–6, 1–6
Loss 5. Mar 1998 Family Circle Cup, U.S. Clay   Amanda Coetzer 3–6, 4–6
Win 4. May 1998 Internationaux de Strasbourg, France Clay   Julie Halard-Decugis 7–6(7–5), 6–3
Loss 6. Apr 1999 Egypt Classic Clay   Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 1–6, 0–6

Doubles: 13 (6 titles, 7 runner-ups)Edit

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Tier I (1–1)
Tier II (2–2)
Tier III, IV & V (3–4)
Titles by surface
Hard (1–1)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (2–3)
Carpet (3–3)
Result No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1. Apr 1994 Taranto Trophy, Italy Clay   Noëlle van Lottum   Sandra Cecchini
  Isabelle Demongeot
6–3, 2–6, 6–1
Win 2. Jan 1995 Jakarta Open, Indonesia Hard   Claudia Porwik   Laurence Courtois
  Nancy Feber
6–2, 6–3
Loss 1 Apr 1995 Bol Ladies Open, Croatia Clay   Laura Golarsa   Mercedes Paz
  Rene Simpson
5–7, 2–6
Loss 2. Jan 1996 Pan Pacific Open, Japan Carpet (i)   Mariaan de Swardt   Gigi Fernández
  Natasha Zvereva
6–7(7–9), 3–6
Win 3. May 1996 Italian Open Clay   Arantxa Sánchez Vicario   Gigi Fernández
  Martina Hingis
6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Loss 3. Nov 1996 Bank of the West Classic, U.S. Carpet (i)   Nathalie Tauziat   Lindsay Davenport
  Mary Joe Fernández
1–6, 3–6
Loss 4. May 1997 Madrid Open, Spain Clay   Inés Gorrochategui   Mary Joe Fernández
  Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
3–6, 2–6
Loss 5. Nov 1998 Sparkassen Cup Leipzig, Germany Carpet (i)   Manon Bollegraf   Elena Likhovtseva
  Ai Sugiyama
3–6, 7–6(7–2), 1–6
Loss 6. Jan 1999 Brisbane International, Australia Hard   Kristine Kunce   Corina Morariu
  Larisa Neiland
3–6, 3–6
Win 4. Feb 1999 Paris Indoor, France Carpet (i)   Caroline Vis   Elena Likhovtseva
  Ai Sugiyama
7–5, 3–6, 6–3
Loss 7. Apr 1999 Egypt Classic Clay   Caroline Vis   Laurence Courtois
  Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
7–5, 1–6, 6–7(7–9)
Win 5. Sep 1999 Luxembourg Open Carpet (i)   Caroline Vis   Tina Križan
  Katarina Srebotnik
6–1, 6–2
Win 6. Oct 1999 Generali Ladies Linz, Austria Carpet (i)   Caroline Vis   Tina Križan
  Larisa Neiland
6–4, 6–3

ITF Circuit finalsEdit

Legend
$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments

Singles (3–1)Edit

Result No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 24 September 1990 Mali Lošinj, Yugoslavia Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir 3–6, 1–6
Winner 2. 3 June 1991 Milan, Italy Clay   Agnès Zugasti 6–4, 7–5
Winner 3. 3 February 1992 Jakarta, Indonesia Clay   Ann Devries 6–3, 6–2
Winner 4. 14 June 1993 Brindisi, Italy Clay   Petra Kamstra 6–1, 5–7, 6–3

Doubles (5–8)Edit

Result No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 13 August 1990 Rebecq, Belgium Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir   Els Callens
  Caroline Wuillot
4–6, 2–6
Winner 2. 20 August 1990 Koksijde, Belgium Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir   Erda Crous
  Lucie Ludvigová
6–1, 2–6, 6–3
Winner 3. 17 September 1990 Rabac, Yugoslavia Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir   Katarína Studeníková
  Gabriela Vesela
1–6, 6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 4. 24 September 1990 Mali Lošinj, Yugoslavia Clay   Anna Mirza   Eva Martincová
  Zdeňka Málková
1–6, 1–6
Winner 5. 8 October 1990 Bol, Croatia Clay   Magdalena Feistel   Eva Martincová
  Zdeňka Málková
4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Runner-up 6. 29 May 1991 Brindisi, Italy Clay   Katarína Studeníková   Patricia Miller
  Inés Gorrochategui
1–6, 6–7
Runner-up 7. 29 July 1991 Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany Clay   Meike Babel   Catarina Bernstein
  Annika Narbe
4–6, 5–7
Runner-up 8. 12 August 1991 Pisticci, Italy Hard   Ruxandra Dragomir   Justine Hodder
  Maja Murić
4–6, 6–3, 3–6
Runner-up 9. 3 February 1992 Jakarta, Indonesia Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir   Nicole Pratt
  Angie Woolcock
1–6, 0–6
Winner 10. 28 September 1992 Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Italy Clay   Ann Devries   Ginevra Mugnaini
  Andreea Ehritt-Vanc
6–0, 6–0
Runner-up 11. 22 November 1992 Nottingham, United Kingdom Carpet (i)   Ruxandra Dragomir   Els Callens
  Elena Pampoulova
6–7(3–7), 4–6
Winner 12. 30 November 1992 Le Havre, France Clay   Ruxandra Dragomir   Angela Kerek
  Sabine Lohmann
6–3, 7–6
Runner-up 13. 14 June 1993 Brindisi, Italy Clay   Angela Kerek   Lara Bitter
  Petra Kamstra
5–7, 6–4, 2–6

Singles performance timelineEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 SR W–L W%
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A A A 1R 4R 2R QF 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7 8–7 53%
French Open A A 1R A 4R 3R 4R 4R 1R 3R 1R 0 / 8 13–8 62%
Wimbledon A A A A 2R 3R 2R 4R 4R 1R 1R 0 / 7 10–7 59%
US Open A A Q1 A 1R 1R 3R SF 4R 3R A 0 / 6 12–6 67%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–0 4–4 7–4 7–4 15–4 6–4 4–4 0–3 0 / 28 43–28 61%
Year-end championships
Tour Championships A A A A A A 1R SF SF A A 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Tier I tournaments
Tokyo Tier II A A A 2R 2R QF A A 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Chicago A Tier II Not Held 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Boca Raton Tier II A A Tier II Not Held 0 / 1 0–1 0%
Indian Wells Tier II F 3R 2R 2R 0 / 5 8–5 62%
Miami A A A A 1R 2R QF QF 2R 2R 2R 0 / 7 8–7 53%
Charleston A A A A 1R 3R QF 3R F 2R A 0 / 6 11–6 65%
Berlin A A A A A SF A 3R QF 1R 1F 0 / 5 7–5 58%
Rome A A Q1 A SF 3R SF QF 3R 3R 1R 0 / 8 15–8 65%
Montreal / Toronto A A A A A A 1R 1R 3R 1R A 0 / 4 1–4 20%
Moscow Tier V Not Held Tier III QF 1R A A 0 / 2 1–2 33%
Zürich Tier II A A 1R 2R 2R SF 2R A 0 / 5 6–5 55%
Philadelphia NH Tier II A A QF Tier II 0 / 4 5–4 56%
Career statistics
Year-end ranking 310 208 164 63 43 21 10 8 15 35 167

Record against other top playersEdit

Spîrlea's win/loss record against certain players who have been ranked world No. 10 or higher is as follows:

Players who have been ranked world No. 1 are in boldface.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Article in Romanian Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Article in Romanian
  3. ^ Article in Romanian Archived 12 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Women's Tennis News | WTA Tennis".
  5. ^ The Enquirer – This article is no longer available
  6. ^ CNN/SI – US Open Player Profiles
  7. ^ a b sportsillustrated.cnn.com
  8. ^ "telegraph.co.uk". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2007.
  9. ^ Harris, Cecil (1 February 2020). Different Strokes: Serena, Venus, and the Unfinished Black Tennis Revolution. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-1-4962-1465-2.
  10. ^ Father of tennis star Venus Williams charges racism during recent U.S. Open – Richard Williams|Jet|Find Articles at BNET.com

External linksEdit

Preceded by
WTA Newcomer of the Year
1994
Succeeded by