Australian Open: Niculescu upset last year Wimbledon finalist Lisicki


Romanian tennis player Monica Niculescu (WTA 64) provided the surprise of the day on Wednesday when she defeated 15th seed Sabine Lisicki, finalist at Wimbledon last year, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“I played well the first set and a half, I did everything the right way,” Lisicki said according to ausopen.com. “I guess the heat kind of got me. It was pretty visible as well that my legs got tired from the heat.”
Niculescu will hope to maintain her fighting spirit in a third round match against Ekaterina Makarova, a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist who upset world No.8 Jelena Jankovic in Sydney last week. For Niculescu, the fourth-ranked of a growing legion of Romanians in the WTA’s top 100, it’s a chance to take another step in a career that reaped a first title, on the hard courts of Florianopolis, Brazil – in 2013.
She’ll once against be the lower-ranked woman against a seeded opponent, but having started her season with a quarterfinal appearance in Shenzhen and a pair of doubles titles (Shenzen and Hobart, both with Klara Zakapolova), her confidence is growing. And as Lisicki would agree, so too is Niculescu’s capability.
In the women pairs tournament Ioana Raluca Olaru / Varvara Lepshenko (Romania / USA) defeated in the first round the Japanese couple Shuko Aoyama/Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-4. In the men pairs tournament, tenth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) and Horia Tecau (ROM) claimed the first win of their partnership by defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 7-5. They will fight in the second round against Yuki Bhrambi/ Michael Venus (India/ New Zealand). In another match on Wednesday, Romanian Florin Mergea and Austrian Oliver Marach defeated the double Santiago Gonzalez/ Scott Lipsky (Mexico/ USA) scor 6-3, 7-6
Serena Williams reached another milestone on Wednesday, scoring her 60th career match win at the Australian Open – tying her with Margaret Court’s tally at the Happy Slam. With a barrage of 24 winners – including 10 aces – the No.1-seeded Williams dropped a 6-1 6-2 second round decision on Serbia’s Vesna Dolonc, improving to 52-1 in second round matches at Grand Slams.

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