Monica Niculescu of Romania defeated Olga Puchkova of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the final of the Brazil Tennis Cup to win her first WTA title on Saturday.
Niculescu had been runner-up twice on tour before finally breaking through at the outdoor hard-court tournament in southern Brazil.
The 75th-ranked Romanian broke Puchkova's serve to go up 5-4 in the final set then converted on her service game to close out the match in 1 hour, 59 minutes.
''It's unbelievable,'' Niculescu said. ''This means a lot, I was so nervous and wanted to win this so much. My game was not brilliant today, but it shows that in tennis if you keep fighting you can manage to win.''
She broke Puchkova three times to win the first set but allowed the Russian to rebound in the second with two breaks of her own, including in the final game of the set.
The 109th-ranked Puchkova, who ended with six double faults, had upset top-seeded Venus Williams in three sets in Friday's semifinals.
''It wasn't easy, she was in...