Third time's a charm for Monica Niculescu, who upset the top seed Petra Kvitova to win the title in her third appearance at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open final.
WTA Staff

LUXEMBOURG - Third time's a charm for Monica Niculescu, who upset the top seed Petra Kvitova to win the title in her third appearance at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open final.

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The Romanian made back-to-back runs to the final here in 2011 and 2012, but each time fell just short of capturing the title. But this time, Niculescu started out strong and finished even stronger, steamrolling to a 6-4, 6-0 victory to claim her first WTA title of the year.

"It was my best match this year!" Niculescu said in her post-match press conference. "I felt fantastic on the court, and after I took the first set I felt even better. I was feeling very light on the court and was catching every ball. I felt like nothing surprised me.

"But, wow, to beat Petra in the final? That's the best moment in my life, I think!"

Niculescu peppered her game with her signature slices, giving Kvitova plenty of trouble from the start. She broke comfortably in Kvitova's opening service game and once again to widen the gap and earn a 4-1 lead. The Czech grabbed one of the breaks back but Niculescu clung to her lead, covering the court and powered on to take the opening set.

From here it was all Niculescu, as the Romanian rattled off the next six games to diffuse Kvitova's lefty serve and completely shut her out of the match, claiming her first title at Luxembourg after an hour and eight minutes.

"I just have to congratulate 'Moni' on a great week," Kvitova acknowledged at the trophy ceremony. "You caught everything today, it's too bad I had to play against you! Congrats to your team and enjoy your off-season."

She also sent a shout-out to the Czech U-21s National Football Team, who were out in full force to support their compatriot during the final.

Niculescu was similarly full of effusive praise for her opponent after the final.

"You had a great week, you are a very nice person - I think it was a very nice final," she enthused during her speech. "I know you're not done - I know you still have Zhuhai! I wish you all the best and I know you can do it!

"I wish you all the best for Zhuhai - you're a great player and I know you can do it!"

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