Re: The Amazing and Remarkable Monica Niculescu
Well, Monica Niculescu has won her 1st singles match since Hobart in the beginning of Januany, beating Leticia Costas-Moreira, ranked 365, 5-7 6-4 6-4 in three hours and 27 minutes. Okay, so what does that tell us?
On the plus side it tells us that at least Monica must be in fairly good shape physically to have endured such a long marathon and come out of it on top. It also tells us that she is fighting hard and doing everything she can to win matches. It couldn't have been pleasant to drop the 1st set 7-5 after almost 90 minutes and it shows at least Monica's fighting spirit is intact that she didn't throw in the towel at that point.
On the less positive side, shall we say, however, it has to be said, that it doesn't say a lot for where Monica's game is at right now when it takes her almost 3 and a half hours to beat a girl ranked 365. Looking at this result, along with her other 3 post-AO results rather suggests that Monica probably isn't playing much better than around world 300 right now.
That's not good at all. However, things can change fast in tennis and as long as Monica is eager and healthy, and at least this win does suggest both of those in the affirmative, we have to expect she will improve on her current level if she is given enough matches.
More than anything, right now Monica needs matches to refind her game and her confidence. In a funny way, a three and a half hour tussle was probably the best thing that could have happened today, especially as she will now play another match tomorrow. Yurika Sema is next and she's pretty good, beat Date-Krumm in the US Open qualies last year and almost beat Wickmayer in the AO qualies this year. If Monica is going to win that she is going to have to raise her game substantially from today's level. It's possible. I really hope she does. Every additional match Monica can get this week will be a help in her refinding her game and right now that is even more important than things like ranking points.