Past week featured three $235,000 WTA events and we got two first-time titlists and one player who defended her title.
At the WTA Brasil Tennis Cup in Florianopolis, world No.75 Monica Niculescu survived a triple match point in the first round against Anabel Medina Garrigues and another marathon, 6-2 4-6 6-4, in the final against Olga Puchkova, who had taken out top seed Venus Williams in the semis, to win her first title in her third final, after two finals in Luxembourg in the last two years.
At the BMW Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, Czech Karolina Pliskova, who had never been past the quarterfinals, after four straight-set victories battled back from a set down in the final to beat Bethanie Mattek Sands, who had taken out second seed and defending champion Hsieh Su-Wei and No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Final score: 1-6 7-5 6-3. Pliskova is now in the Top 100 for the first time.
At the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL in Acapulco, defending champion and top seed Sara Errani won the first eight games of the match and fought through the next eight to beat second seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-4. The win is the Italian’s 18th this year and puts her on the WTA pedestal for the most wins this season, ahead of Agnieszka Radwanska who has 17. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)