Brazil Tennis Cup: Monica Niculescu beats Olga Puchkova in final
Monica Niculescu landed her first career singles title after a battling victory in the final of the Brazil Cup.
Last Updated: 03/03/13 11:13am
The Romania got off the mark after beating Olga Puchkova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 at Florianopolis on Saturday.
Puchkova had produced some excellent tennis to defeat Venus Williams in the semi-finals but couldn't match those standards against world number 75 Niculescu.
She did fight back to level at 1-1 but Niculescu broke Puchkova's serve to go 5-4 up in the final set and then converted on her service game to close out the match in 1 hour, 59 minutes.
Earlier in the tournament, Niculescu had saved three match points against Spaniard Anibel Medina Garrigues when she was 6-3 down in a second set tie-break in her opening round match.
She greeted her first WTA Tour title with a sense of joy and relief after two previous losses in finals.
"I competed in two finals before and lost to (Victoria) Azarenka and Venus, and today I finally managed to win one - I'm so happy," she said.
"I felt so tired on the court but really, really wanted to win, and right now I can't really explain how happy I feel.
"I'll just relax tonight and go to bed, and tomorrow I'll think about what I've done here."