The Shenzhen tournament in China came
to a close last week, offering total prizes of some 775 thousand dollars. In
the women's singles, Romania's representatives were knocked out relatively
quick into the competition, ever since the first round. Sorana Cirstea lost to
China's Xiyu Wang, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, while Irina Begu lost to Kristyna Pliskova of
the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3. In the women's doubles, however, Monica Niculescu
reached the semi-finals, together with Misaki Doi of Japan. For her
achievement, we have designated Monica Niculescu Athlete of the Week on RRI.
In Shenzhen, in the first round,
Niculescu and Doi knocked out Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia and Oksana
Kalashnikova of Georgia, 6-2, 6-2. In the second round they were pitted against
the number one seeds, Elise Mertens of Belgium and Arina Sabalenka of Belarus.
Monica and Misaki won in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4. In the semi-finals however,
the two lost to the all-Chinese pair Ying-Ying Duan and Saisai Zheng, 3-6, 6-3,
10-4. Monica has previously won two doubles titles in Shenzhen, in 2014
alongside Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic, and in 2016 with Vania King of
the United States.
Monica Niculescu was born in
Slatina on September 25, 1987. She has been living in Bucharest since the age
of 4. She started playing tennis at the age of 5 and turned pro in 2002. She
won three WTA tournaments in the women's singles and 9 in the women's doubles.
Her career-long winnings amount to over 6 million dollars. Her highest ranking
in the women's singles was 28th in 2012, and 11th in the women's
doubles in 2018. She is now ranked 128th in the singles and 46th
in the doubles.
(Translated by V. Palcu)