Monica Niculescu and Kirsten Flipkens played a match of variety at the Hobart International on Tuesday. It was the Romanian who advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight sets victory in over an hour.
Romanian dominates later stage of opening set
Niculescu and Flipkens entered Centre Court for their second round encounter in Hobart on Tuesday. The pair had played on five previous occasions with Niculescu having won their most recent meeting in Luxembourg last year. The match commenced and quickly began with a Flipkens' hold to love before Niculescu held to 30. The holding trend continued for a few games, but the Romanian sparked the idea of a break in the fifth game. The Belgian refused to be broken early on as she stayed steady on her serve to inch ahead to a 3-2 lead.
In spite of missing out on an early break opportunity, Niculescu remained positive and continued giving Flipkens very little chances to make noise on the return. At 3-3, the third-seeded Niculescu stepped up to the challenge and stole the first break of the match. However, the Belgian soon found her way to earn chances to break back, but Niculescu denied Flipkens of the break.
With the lengthy hold from the Romanian, she put herself in a comfortable position, ahead by five games to three. Flipkens would then serve to stay in the set, and she was unsuccessful. The Romanian took the opening set, 6-3 in 35 minutes.
Niculescu reaches final eight
The second set began in Niculescu's favor as she held, yet again. Flipkens held, as well, in spite of facing a break point early on. The pair maintained the on-serve pattern in the second set, but it was the Romanian who seemed to be playing the more steady and consistent tennis out of the two.
Once again, Niculescu outsmarted the Belgian with a pair of beautiful forehands to get herself near a crucial break. In saying that, the third seed arrived at three break points before clinching it for a 4-2 advantage in the second set.
From that point on, it was all downhill for the world number 73. Niculescu held to extend her lead to a set and 5-2 as she covered all parts of the court sensationally. The third seed put herself within a game of the quarterfinals at the Hobart International, and nothing looked as if it could get between her and the finish line. Her exceptional defense vaulted her to an impressive 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Belgian veteran. The match of an hour and ten minutes leveled the pair's head-to-head to three wins apiece.
Third seed makes quarterfinal in Hobart
Niculescu's path to the quarterfinals was rather tricky, yet routine, but quarterfinal matches only get tougher. The world number 38 either plays Risa Ozaki or Lucie Safarova. The quarterfinal matchup is set to be held on Thursday.