Tennis: Breakthrough win for Niculescu in Brazil

Romania's Monica Niculescu captured her first career singles title with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Olga Puchkova of Russia in the final of the Brazil Cup at Florianopolis on Saturday.

The world No. 75 unsettled the hard-hitting Puchkova, who defeated Venus Williams in the semi-finals, with a range of slices, angles and drop shots.

Niculescu, who saved three match points against Spaniard Anibel Medina Garrigues in her first round match when she was 6-3 down in a second set tie-break, said she was hugely relieved to have finally won a WTA Tour title after two previous losses in finals.

"I competed in two finals before and lost to (Victoria) Azarenka and Venus, and today I finally managed to win one - I'm so happy," she said.

"I felt so tired on the court but really, really wanted to win, and right now I can't really explain how happy I feel. I'll just relax tonight and go to bed, and tomorrow I'll think about what I've done here."