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Breakthrough win for Niculescu

sports Updated: Mar 04, 2013 00:46 IST

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Romania’s Monica Niculescu captured her first career singles title with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Olga Puchkova of Russia in the final of the Brazil Cup at Floriano­polis on Saturday.

The world No. 75 unsettled the hard-hitting Puchkova, who defeated Venus Williams in the semi-finals, with a range of slices, angles and drop shots.

Niculescu, who saved three match points against Spaniard Anibel Medina Garrigues in her first round match when she was 6-3 down in a second set tie-break, said she was hugely relieved to have finally won a WTA Tour title after two previous losses in finals. “I finally managed to win one,” she said.

Maiden title
KUALA LUMPUR: Karolina Pliskova shrugged off a first-set thrashing and a 40-minute rain delay to win her first WTA singles crown at the BMW Malaysian Open on Sunday.

The Czech, who was playing in her first WTA final, broke American wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ heart with a come-from-behind 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory in 106 minutes.

Defeat for Mattek-Sands, who has 12 doubles titles to her name at the age of 28, meant her search for a first singles crown continues.