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View Full Version : 25K Mount Gambier F - Monica Niculescu d. Ye-Ra Lee 6-3 6-1 17th win in 18 matches


Shvedbarilescu
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:33 AM
Congratulations, Monica. Another match, another easy win over another discombobulated opponent. :yeah:

Many regular WTAworld posters will already be familiar with Monica Niculescu but many others will not. This thread is for both but especially as an introduction to a player who looks like becoming one of the big breakthrough stories of 2008.

This win was Monica's 17th in her last 18 matches. Pretty good. But what makes it even more impressive is the manner in which she has won all 17 of these matches with total ease. Here for your benefit is the complete run down of her last four tournaments....

Istanbul (TUR), Oct 23 1R (8)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (WC)Melis Sezer (TUR) 60 61
Istanbul (TUR), Oct 24 2R (8)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (Q)Tinatin Kavlashvili (GEO) 61 63
Istanbul (TUR), Oct 26 QF (8)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Georgie Stoop (GBR) 62 64
Istanbul (TUR), Oct 27 SF (8)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (2)Katie O'Brien (GBR) 64 62
Istanbul (TUR), Oct 28 F (8)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Oxana Lyubtsova (UKR) 62 60

Port Pirie (AUS), Nov 7 1R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (Q)Lauren Breadmore (AUS) 64 62
Port Pirie (AUS), Nov 8 2R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Georgie Stoop (GBR) 63 62
Port Pirie (AUS), Nov 9 QF (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (Q)Aleksandra Srndovic (SWE) 61 60
Port Pirie (AUS), Nov 10 SF (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Nicole Thyssen (NED) 63 61
Port Pirie (AUS), Nov 11 F (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. I-Hsuan Hwang (TPE) 61 62

Nuriootpa (AUS), Nov 14 1R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Trudi Musgrave (AUS) 61 62
Nuriootpa (AUS), Nov 15 2R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Story Tweedie-Yates (USA) 60 62
Nuriootpa (AUS), Nov 16 QF Irena Pavlovic (FRA) def. def. (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) 63 63

Mount Gambier (AUS), Nov 21 1R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (Q)Stefania Boffa (SUI) 75 63
Mount Gambier (AUS), Nov 22 2R (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (Q)Karoline Wlodarczak (AUS) 60 64
Mount Gambier (AUS), Nov 23 QF (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Georgie Stoop (GBR) 62 62
Mount Gambier (AUS), Nov 24 SF (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Chia-Jung Chuang (TPE) 60 62
Mount Gambier (AUS), Nov 25 F (4)Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. (8)Ye-Ra Lee (KOR) 63 61

As you can see, not only has Monica been winning virtually all her matches but she has been winning them all very convincingly. All 17 victories coming in straight sets and 12 of 17 of the victories incredibly with only 4 or less games conceded. Only twice in Monica's last 18 matches has she conceded more than 6 games.

All this means that she is, along with Yanina Wickmayer, one of the two hottest players on the ITF circuit right now. But unlike Yanina, Monica is not another tall youngster with a huge serve and monster groundies. Monica is a complete one-off.

Her game is very hard to describe but it is predominantly two-handed on both sides except for a large assortment of one-handed forehand slices and, yes, there is the occasional one handed backhand too. Her volleying skills are top notch, and when I saw her on grass at least, she was very effective approaching the net off her low bouncing slices. Like Fabrice Santoro she is able to produce an astonishing array of different spins off her shots and hits a mean drop shot and lob too. In the past her serve and mental strength have been her greatest weaknesses but the results of the last few weeks suggest she has made some very strong improvements in these areas.

Not surprising in a thread from six months ago titled "Which player has the weirdest game?" she was name checked as much as any player despite being out of the top 200 at the time. Oh here is that thread.. http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=289821

It is obviously going to be fascinating to see where this unique game can take Monica next year. Clearly the last few weeks have shown that she is too good for 25K ITF events as she leaves one bamboozled opponent after another in her wake. The top 100 where Monica is quickly heading (after todays point get put on her ranking she will be up to about 150 and rising fast) will obviously be much more challenging. As there hasn't been a player like her for a very long time it is hard to predict how Monica's game will match up against the top 100. I hope she does well and I have faith she will find her niche. Whereabouts in the top 100 that will be I don't know. But I am hopeful that this game of hers can take her to the top 50 before 2008 is complete. :D

Petkorazzi
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:40 AM
:worship:

MLF
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:44 AM
Good luck to her but really on that list of players there really isn't anyone on it, save Katie O'Brien on grass, who should be giving Monica too much trouble. The only big hitter she faced, the inconsistent Pavlovic, is the only one who took her out and that's the problem Niculescu will face / faces when she goes beyond 25K events - there are too many people able to hit through her, even Kirilenko totally overpowered her in Dubai ( or was it Doha? ).

With smart scheduling I'm sure she can go top 100, and it'd be nice to see someone who is a little unorthodox up there.

LudwigDvorak
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:46 AM
Great post. I saw you talk about her at Wimbledon I think this year, you saw her in qualifying at some event, and she sounded very interesting even then. Her game sounds amazing, though. She's 20 years old I see, but that's still really young. For coming out of a country like Romania I'm sure that's not a bad rate.

I presume it's a consistency issue that's prevented her from winning more/bigger matches this year?

GoDominique
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:48 AM
Please please please please please please please please don't compare her to Santoro.

Please.

Shvedbarilescu
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:53 AM
Good luck to her but really on that list of players there really isn't anyone on it, save Katie O'Brien on grass, who should be giving Monica too much trouble. The only big hitter she faced, the inconsistent Pavlovic, is the only one who took her out and that's the problem Niculescu will face / faces when she goes beyond 25K events - there are too many people able to hit through her, even Kirilenko totally overpowered her in Dubai ( or was it Doha? ).

With smart scheduling I'm sure she can go top 100, and it'd be nice to see someone who is a little unorthodox up there.

I think it is fair to say she has inproved substantially since her match with Kirilenko. A game as unusual as hers will always take a longer time to develop than a simple big serve/big forehand type game. I really wouldn't read to much into the Kirilenko match. Time will tell but I am rather more optimistic about her future than you. Perhaps I should add a poll on how Monica will do next year, it would be interesting to see what people think. :)

Xian
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:53 AM
Well I have seen her playing against Kirilenko in Dubai. What I have seen there was pretty the worst I have ever seen. The gap between ITF and WTA level seems pretty huge. Anyway she looks quite hot :p :drool:

Shvedbarilescu
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:59 AM
Please please please please please please please please don't compare her to Santoro.

Please.

I hear where you are coming from. Yes Fabrice is a Tennis God :bowdown: and Monica is just starting out. But in terms of how they play there are enough similarities to warrent the reference. I say this as a huge Fabrice Santoro fan.

Obviously Monica is long long way from becoming a legend of the game which what Fabrice Santoro is. She may never get anywhere close. But all journeys start somewhere and I am very excited to see a player of her style having success in the women's game and I wish her the best.

MLF
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:01 AM
Time will tell but I am rather more optimistic about her future than you.

I have absolutely nothing against her but let's be honest, in those 18 matches she only played one player ranked inside the world's top 220 players. She obviously headed to Australia to score plenty of ranking points knowing the events there are relatively weak at this time of year and fair play to her, she got the wins.

Shvedbarilescu
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:04 AM
I have absolutely nothing against her but let's be honest, in those 18 matches she only played one player ranked inside the world's top 220 players. She obviously headed to Australia to score plenty of ranking points knowing the events there are relatively weak at this time of year and fair play to her, she got the wins.

And Katie O'Brien played those same four events and wasn't able to get to the final of any of them. :shrug:

Winning matches on paper often looks easy. But you don't see players go on streaks like this very often. If you can defeat every player who is ranked below you with ease you will soon find your ranking rising very fast.

MLF
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:12 AM
I'm not sure where in any of my posts that I was heralding Katie O'Brien as the next big thing ?

I'm just offering you my opinion on Niculescu based on her results and having seen her play quite a few times, as I say I've absolutely no problem with her. If you would prefer it to be a Monica Niculescu appreciation thread then perhaps you should retitle it. I just happen to view her differently to you - sorry :)

GoDominique
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:20 AM
I hear where you are coming from. Yes Fabrice is a Tennis God :bowdown: and Monica is just starting out. But in terms of how they play there are enough similarities to warrent the reference. I say this as a huge Fabrice Santoro fan.

Obviously Monica is long long way from becoming a legend of the game which what Fabrice Santoro is. She may never get anywhere close. But all journeys start somewhere and I am very excited to see a player of her style having success in the women's game and I wish her the best.
Fair enough.

Personally I believe comparing any player to Santoro is a bit pointless since there will never be another player like him, neither on the women's nor on the men's side.

Now as most of us, the only Niculescu match I have seen was the one against Kirilenko. And it was disappointing. Girl had no serve, was powerless from the baseline, in all: she looked like you typical challenger hack ranked 200-250.
Sure, she plays forehand slice. But this slice isn't really a good shot. It looks awkward and it doesn't really give her opponent that much trouble, at least not on hardcourt.
Compare that to Santoro. His style is unique but his slice is technically sound and a very effective shot. And of course he also has an all-around game that is light-years ahead of Niculescu.
It seemed to me as if Niculescu doesn't play the slice because she can, but because she has to since her regular forehand isn't that good. That's the difference to Santoro, and that's why I'm not that impressed with her, although I wish her good luck.

Shvedbarilescu
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:29 AM
Fair enough.

Personally I believe comparing any player to Santoro is a bit pointless since there will never be another player like him, neither on the women's nor on the men's side.

Now as most of us, the only Niculescu match I have seen was the one against Kirilenko. And it was disappointing. Girl had no serve, was powerless from the baseline, in all: she looked like you typical challenger hack ranked 200-250.
Sure, she plays forehand slice. But this slice isn't really a good shot. It looks awkward and it doesn't really give her opponent that much trouble, at least not on hardcourt.
Compare that to Santoro. His style is unique but his slice is technically sound and a very effective shot. And of course he also has an all-around game that is light-years ahead of Niculescu.
It seemed to me as if Niculescu doesn't play the slice because she can, but because she has to since her regular forehand isn't that good. That's the difference to Santoro, and that's why I'm not that impressed with her, although I wish her good luck.

Okay. Obviously there is will never be another Santoro. But hopefully there will be other players who come along who like Santoro play in a very unique style. I think you would appreciate that the Monica Niculescu that played against Kirilenko was not the finished article. A player of her sort takes a lot longer to develop than a basic power hitter. Give her time. ;)

-sugi-
Nov 25th, 2007, 12:33 PM
Monica :yeah:.
I think top 100 next year.

shrOOf
Nov 25th, 2007, 05:35 PM
I remember the match against Kirilenko this year and it was poor, so I'd say 151 to 200.

Ellery
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:25 PM
Ye-Ra :sad:

Congrats Monica.

Epigone
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:03 PM
Monica :banana:

My avatar says it all :p