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Tennis: Monica Niculescu wins WTA tournament in Luxembourg

Irina Begu Monica Niculescu

Romanian tennis player Monica Niculescu has won the 226.750-dollar WTA tournament in Luxembourg on Saturday, after defeating Petra Kvitova (Czechia), the main favorite, in the finals, by 6-4, 6-0. 

Niculescu (29 years old, #50 WTA) made a remarkable match, winning in one hour and eight minutes against one of the top tennis players in the world, Petra Kvitova, a two-time winner in Wimbledon and currently ranked 11 in the world. 

The Romanian played her usual game, showed tenacity, put on a show in many moments and excelled in slices and short shots, problems Kvitova couldn't handle. 

Monica started with a break, led by 2-0, after which Kvitova reduced the difference, but then Niculescu broke off and took the lead to 4-1. Kvitova enjoyed a short return and closed in at 4-3, but the Romanian player pressed on to 5-3, unfortunately losing two opportunities at the set point. Kvitova managed to finally win her service for 5-4, but Niculescu closed the set at 6-4 after 38 minutes. 

Monica Niculescu dominated the second set and Kvitova proved to be not much of a hindrance. After a break in the opening game, Niculescu took the lead with 2-0 denying three set points to make it 1-1. The Romanian went on to 3-0, then had an unopposed service, with the set point at 6-0 being won easily. 

Niculescu and Kvitova (26 years old) are now tied in matches won, 2-2. Kvitova won for the first time in 2013 in the first round at Eastbourne by 6-4, 6-1. This year Monica won the match in the Fed Cup by 6-3, 6-4, while the Czech player won the round of 16 match in Stuttgart by 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2. 

Monica Niculescu managed to secure a win in Luxembourg for the first time, after two previous attempts were lost against Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) in 2011, 6-2, 6-2, and against Venus Williams (USA) in 2012, 6-2, 6-3. 

Monica has three WTA singles' titles in her track record, the previous two being won in 2013 in Florianopolis and in 2014 in Guangzhou. She lost four other finals, in Luxembourg (2011, 2012), Nottingham (2015) and Seoul (2016). 

Niculescu will receive a cheque for 34,677 euro and 280 WTA points. 

Monica also has the chance to win the doubles' title of the same tournament, together with Romanian Patricia Tig. The two are set to face off in the final against second favorites Kiki Bertens (the Netherlands) and Johanna Larsson (Sweden). AGERPRES


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