January 28, 2019 / 6:43 PM / 6 months ago

Niculescu upsets No. 3 seed Hsieh in Thailand Open

Monica Niculescu knocked out No. 3 seed Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 7-6 (2) Monday in opening-round play of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 3, 2018 Romania's Monica Niculescu in action during the first round match against Japan's Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

It was the first-ever meeting between the two veterans.

Niculescu, of Romania, said she found in her Taiwanese opponent a mirror image of herself.

“I’m happy that I could play this kind of game. I knew Su-wei is going to be very good ... and I knew she’s a very interesting opponent, mixing the game, like me,” Niculescu said after the match.

The players traded service breaks in the first six games, but Niculescu saved 10 of the 15 chances Hsieh had.

Also moving on to the next round are No. 6 seed Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia and No. 8 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, each winning in straight sets.

St. Petersburg Open

Maria Sharapova defeated Daria Gavrilova in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, winning 6-0, 6-4 in a match tougher than the score indicates.

It took Sharapova 48 minutes to win the first set over the Australian, followed by a second set that lasted nearly an hour. The second game of the first set lasted 18 minutes and saw the players at deuce nine times.

This was the first time that Sharapova, of Russia, has played in this tournament. She next will meet her countrywoman, No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina.

Other winners in first-round action Monday were Vera Zvonareva, who defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Russian match, and Alison Van Uytvanck, who bested fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4.

—Field Level Media

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