Monica Niculescu beat the heat and Alizé Cornet to win her second WTA title at the Guangzhou International Women's Open. She dropped just 17 games all week.
WTA Staff

GUANGZHOU, China - Monica Niculescu overcame Alizé Cornet - and some very hot and humid conditions - to win the second WTA title of her career at the Guangzhou International Women's Open.

Things didn't look so great for Niculescu early on in the final, as the No.2-seeded Cornet surged ahead 4-2 in the first set. But from there it was one way traffic in the other direction as Niculescu reeled off 10 games in a row - and at one point eight points in a row - to run away with the match, 6-4, 6-0.

"I was so happy to finish in the end because it was very hot and very humid, and I was very, very tired," Niculescu said. "But to finish so strong was amazing for me. I have many emotions right now, but most of it is joy and confidence. It's my second WTA title and that's just an amazing feeling."

Niculescu was asked why she's so effective in such tough conditions.

"I think it's very tough to play against me because I put many balls back and run a lot and fight for every ball - I think in this heat and humidity it's definitely not easy to play against me," she said.

Niculescu actually put together one of the most dominant title runs of the year, losing just 17 games in five matches - only one player has dropped fewer games en route to a WTA title this year, that being Garbiñe Muguruza, who lost 15 en route to winning the Hobart International in January.

"I had a good feeling about this tournament when I entered it," Niculescu added.

There were some sad feelings for the Romanian this week, though.

"It's sad to hear Li Na is retiring - I think everybody is sad about it," the Romanian said. "She had a great career, though, and it's really not easy to recover after so many knee surgeries. We're all going to miss her. I hope to see her at tournaments. She's very funny. She's just a great girl.

"It was an honor to play against her before she retired."

Niculescu now has two WTA titles, her first coming at another International-level hardcourt event in Florianopolis, Brazil last year. She's the sixth Romanian ever to win multiple WTA titles, after Virginia Ruzici, Irina Spirlea, Ruxandra Dragomir-Ilie, Alexandra Dulgheru and Simona Halep.

The doubles final saw Chuang Chia-Jung and Liang Chen save a match point down a set and 6-5 and go on to defeat Cornet and Magda Linette in a match tie-break for the title, 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-7.

Chuang won her milestone 20th WTA doubles title while Liang won her first WTA title of any kind.