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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 during her career. Spîrlea reached her highest individual ranking on the WTA Tour on 13 October 1997, when she became number 7 in the world. She retired in 2000.

Irina Spîrlea
Country (sports) Romania
ResidenceRome, Italy
Born (1974-03-26) 26 March 1974 (age 45)
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)
Doubles
Career record200–154
Career titles6 WTA, 5 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 16 (2 October 1995)

Contents

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 woemn 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 semi-final at the US Open in 1997. She won the WTA's Newcomer of the Year award in 1994.[4]

ControversiesEdit

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

Spîrlea is known for 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, claiming that Williams was arrogant and didn't move. 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 blamed Spîrlea's racism as the cause of the collision and later called her an "ugly, white turkey".[7] Spîrlea cited Williams' arrogance, saying in a press conference following the match, "I'm not going to move. She never tries to turn"[8] and "She thinks she's the (expletive) Venus Williams."[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'.[9]

WTA Tour finalsEdit

Singles: 10 (4–6)Edit

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–2)
Tier II (1–0)
Tier III, IV & V / International (3–4)
Titles by surface
Hard (0–2)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (4–3)
Carpet (0–1)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 27 September 1993 Sapporo Carpet (i)   Linda Wild 4–6, 3–6
Runner-up 2. 25 April 1994 Taranto Clay   Julie Halard-Decugis 2–6, 3–6
Winner 1. 4 July 1994 Palermo Clay   Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 6–4, 1–6, 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up 3. 2 January 1995 Jakarta Hard   Sabine Hack 6–2, 6–7(6–8), 4–6
Winner 2. 10 July 1995 Palermo Clay   Sabine Hack 7–6(7–1), 6–2
Winner 3. 8 April 1996 Amelia Island Clay   Mary Pierce 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 4. 3 March 1997 Indian Wells Hard   Lindsay Davenport 2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 5. 30 March 1998 Hilton Head Island Clay   Amanda Coetzer 3–6, 4–6
Winner 4. 18 May 1998 Strasbourg Clay   Julie Halard-Decugis 7–6(7–5), 6–3
Runner-up 6. 19 April 1999 Cairo Clay   Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 1–6, 0–6

Doubles: 13 (6–7)Edit

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I (1–1)
Tier II (2–2)
Tier III, IV & V / International (3–4)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–1)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (2–3)
Carpet (3–3)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. 25 April 1994 Taranto Clay   Noëlle van Lottum   Sandra Cecchini
  Isabelle Demongeot
6–3, 2–6, 6–1
Winner 2. 2 January 1995 Jakarta Hard   Claudia Porwik   Laurence Courtois
  Nancy Feber
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 1 24 April 1995 Zagreb Clay   Laura Golarsa   Mercedes Paz
  Rene Simpson
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 2. 29 January 1996 Tokyo Carpet (i)   Mariaan de Swardt   Gigi Fernández
  Natasha Zvereva
6–7(7–9), 3–6
Winner 3. 6 May 1996 Rome Clay   Arantxa Sánchez Vicario   Gigi Fernández
  Martina Hingis
6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 3. 4 November 1996 Oakland Carpet (i)   Nathalie Tauziat   Lindsay Davenport
  Mary Joe Fernández
1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 4. 19 May 1997 Madrid Clay   Inés Gorrochategui   Mary Joe Fernández
  Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
3–6, 2–6
Runner-up 5. 2 November 1998 Leipzig Carpet (i)   Manon Bollegraf Elena Likhovtseva
  Ai Sugiyama
3–6, 7–6(7–2), 1–6
Runner-up 6. 4 January 1999 Gold Coast Hard   Kristine Kunce   Corina Morariu
  Larisa Neiland
3–6, 3–6
Winner 4. 22 February 1999 Paris Carpet (i)   Caroline Vis   Elena Likhovtseva
  Ai Sugiyama
7–5, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 7. 19 April 1999 Cairo Clay   Caroline Vis   Laurence Courtois
  Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
7–5, 1–6, 6–7(7–9)
Winner 5. 20 September 1999 Luxembourg Carpet (i)   Caroline Vis   Tina Križan
  Katarina Srebotnik
6–1, 6–2
Winner 6. 25 October 1999 Linz 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

SinglesEdit

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

DoublesEdit

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   Zdeňka Málková
  Eva Martincová
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 Mugniani
  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

Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit

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
  • A = did not participate in the tournament.
  • SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

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

External linksEdit