HOBART, Australia - No.3 seed Monica Niculescu fought through tricky conditions to ease past Jelena Jankovic in straight sets at the Hobart International, moving into the second round with her 6-2, 6-3 victory.
"It was pretty tough, I played against Jelena and she's very tough," Niculescu said afterwards. "She's not missing one ball, but I tried to stay focused and fight for every ball and I thought I did very well.
"The conditions were not easy with the wind but I'm so happy I'm here in the second round and that I'm here in Hobart."
After breaking twice to take a smooth opening set, Niculsecu found herself trailing in the second as Jankovic broke to love. But the Romanian quickly recovered, breaking right back and then once more to take the match after one hour and forty minutes.
Hobart is one of Niculescu's favorite tournaments and 2017 marks her eighth trip to Tazmania. After the match, she let the crowd know how much she appreciated the support.
"I love Hobart, I always play here and I enjoy coming here! I love the people here; I think they're very nice and they always like me, so I always try to do my best here. And also the weather is great!"
Earlier in the day, Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera struck a huge upset in her very first WTA main draw match. The 19-year-old knocked out the No.5 seed Misaki Doi 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Cabrera, ranked 176 spots lower than Doi at No.216 in the world, refused to wilt during the draining marathon match. She stayed cool despite dropping the second set and falling behind a break in the third, fighting back to notch her first Top 50 win.
"I'm pretty cooked," Cabrera joked after the two-hour and forty-eight minute battle. "But it feels really good and I'm really excited for my next match."