We aimed to assess the regulatory role of circular RNA (circRNA)-9119 (circ9119) in ovarian cancer (OC) cell viability. The expression of circ9119 was clearly reduced in OC tissues and cell lines, whereas the microRNA-21-5p (miR-21) levels were elevated compared with those in normal healthy control tissues and immortalized fallopian epithelial cell line FTE187. Further, circ9119 was overexpressed, causing a notable decrease in the viability and proliferation of OC cells and an increase in apoptosis. Further study showed that circ9119 upregulation resulted in a decrease in miR-21 levels. Bioinformatics forecasting (starBase and TargetScan) and dual luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that circ9119 acts as an miR-21 sponge. Recovery of miR-21 expression in circ9119-overexpressing OC cells showed that miR-21 exhibited the opposite effect on circ9119; moreover, its recovery could suppress the effects of circ9119 overexpression, recover cell proliferation, and reduce apoptosis. Furthermore, miR-21 was found to target phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) 3′ untranslated region. PTEN protein and mRNA expression was reduced in OC tissues and cells, whereas it was increased on transfection with an miR-21 inhibitor. Thus, circ9119 could regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis of OC cells via by acting as an miR-21 sponge and targeting the PTEN–Akt pathway.