|Born||25 September 1987|
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Turned pro||May 2002|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed both sides)|
|Coach||C?lin Stelian Ciorbagiu|
|Prize money||US$ 6,289,815|
|Career record||519-363 (58.8%)|
|Current ranking||No. 217 (16 August 2021)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||3R (2011, 2012, 2014)|
|French Open||2R (2014)|
|US Open||4R (2011)|
|Olympic Games||2R (2016)|
|Career record||461-274 (62.7%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 11 (2 April 2018)|
|Current ranking||No. 53 (17 May 2021)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||SF (2018)|
|French Open||QF (2010)|
|US Open||QF (2021)|
|Fed Cup||SF (2019), rec 31-21 (59.6%)|
|Last updated on: 20 May 2021.|
Monica Niculescu (born 25 September 1987) is a Romanian professional tennis player. She reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 28 in February 2012, and has three singles titles to her credit on the WTA Tour since she turned professional in May 2002, the last one coming at the end of 2016, at the Luxembourg Open. Although she was a steady top-30 player for several years and enjoyed relative success in singles, she is also a doubles specialist, where she achieved a career-high ranking of No. 11, in April 2018, after partnering with Grand Slam winner and Olympic medalist Andrea Sestini Hlavá?ková at Indian Wells. Her best doubles result up to date is reaching Grand Slam doubles final at Wimbledon in 2017, alongside Chan Hao-ching. She was also runner-up at three Premier Mandatory events: the 2015 Wuhan Open, with fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, the 2016 Rogers Cup, with former world No. 1, Simona Halep, and the 2017 Cincinnati Open, partnering former world No. 1 in doubles, Hsieh Su-wei.
She is popular among spectators and other players alike for her unconventional style of play, employing an extreme grip as well as two hands for both her forehand and backhand. She is also best known for her trademark forehand-slice, her winning demeanor and her exceptional shot-making abilities at the net. Niculescu currently holds the Open Era record of highest first serve percentage in a year (91%-in 2011, tied with Sara Errani).
Niculescu has defeated many top-ten opponents throughout her career, having 25 wins against top-ten opponents to date.
As a junior, Niculescu had the remarkable gift to win quite easily every final she reached. Thus, before reaching the age of 18, she won eleven ITF singles finals, losing only one set:
She also won eight out of 14 ITF finals played in doubles as a junior, in most of them partnered by her older sister, Gabriela Niculescu. She played finals in girls' doubles in Roland Garros (2004, paired with M?d?lina Gojnea) and twice in Wimbledon (2004 and 2005, paired with Marina Erakovic).
By the end of 2005, now already a senior player, she was No. 271 in the WTA rankings and No. 4 in Romania.
Niculescu made her WTA debut in 2006 Istanbul, where she won to then junior Sabine Lisicki but could not pass the third qualification round. In 2007, she continued to play many ITF tournaments, and she also played in qualifications in all four Grand Slam and three other WTA tournaments, but only in Dubai she reached the main draw. Still, winning several ITF tournaments and gathering many small points, she finished the year 2007 in top 200.
In 2008, she reached the quarterfinals in Tashkent, and in all four Grand Slam tournaments she reached the first round, with round two reached in Wimbledon. Gathering points constantly on WTA Tour, and also including some smaller successes in ITF tournaments, Niculescu was ranked 48th in the world, and second in Romania, at the end of 2008.
Niculescu opened the season at the Brisbane International, where she lost to Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round in three sets. She also lost in the first round of the Hobart International to Alona Bondarenko. At the Australian Open, Niculescu beat Katie O'Brien in the first round, 6-4, 6-4, before losing to Sara Errani in the second, 2-6, 3-6. Alongside Sorana Cîrstea, Niculescu was the 14th seed in women's doubles; they lost to Nathalie Dechy and Mara Santangelo in the second round, 3-6, 3-6.
In the other three Grand Slam events, she did not go past round one of the main draw. Her best results of the year were quarterfinals in Tashkent and Strasbourg.
At the Open GDF Suez held in Paris, Niculescu defeated Timea Bacsinszky in the first round, before losing to eventual champion Amélie Mauresmo in the second. She then took part in the Dubai Championships. She beat Peng Shuai in the first round in three sets, and then lost to world No. 3, Jelena Jankovi?, 3-6, 2-6. Niculescu also partnered Elena Vesnina in doubles, and the two reached the quarterfinals in women's doubles; they lost to Anabel Medina Garrigues and Francesca Schiavone. Niculescu had two consecutive first-round losses, at the Indian Wells Open (fell to Anna-Lena Grönefeld) and Miami Open (fell to Tamira Paszek). Partnering Alisa Kleybanova, she reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, where they lost to Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta. At Miami, she partnered Kleybanova again, but they lost to second seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.
At the end of the year, she had slipped out of top 100.
In 2010, Monica started the season in Auckland, coming from qualifying. In the first round, she lost to fifth seed Virginie Razzano, in straight sets. In doubles, she partnered Ioana Raluca Olaru, and they defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues and Carla Suárez Navarro. In the second round, they lost to Cara Black and Liezel Huber, also in two sets.
At the Australian Open, she lost in the first round to Jelena Jankovi?, 4-6, 0-6. In doubles, she partnered Chan Yung-jan and they easily defeated Monique Adamczak and Nicole Kriz. The pair defeated Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova in the second round, 6-4, 6-4. In the third round, they lost to sixth seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs, 5-7, 3-6.
In Marbella failed to qualify in singles, but in doubles she partnered Sophie Lefèvre. They defeated Kristina Barrois and Ioana Raluca Olaru in the first round, 6-3, 4-6, [10-7]. However, in the second round, they lost in straight sets to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Meghann Shaughnessy.
She made again her best in Tashkent, where she reached her first WTA semifinals but lost to Elena Vesnina.
Although in the first half of the year she was struggling between ranks 100 and 150, by the middle of the year she reached top 100 again and ended the year as No. 82 in the world, and No. 2 in Romania.
At the Australian Open, Niculescu defeated Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3. Facing off against the 32nd seed, Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, Niculescu cruised through the match winning 6-4, 6-1. In the third round, she lost to the 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, 0-6, 6-7.
Niculescu defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the first round and compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru in the second round, 6-3, 6-0, to advance to the third round of the US Open. In defeating Lucie ?afá?ová, 6-0, 6-1, Niculescu advanced to the fourth round of a Grand Slam singles competition for the first time in her career, where she lost to unseeded Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
At the Tier-I China Open, she shocked the world with a dominating victory over fourth seed Li Na, 6-4, 6-0 in the first round, and advanced to the semifinals, where she lost to eventual runner-up, Andrea Petkovic.
She advanced to her first final of a WTA International tournament in Luxembourg, losing to Victoria Azarenka, 2-6, 2-6. En route to the final, she spent many hours on court with a 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 first-round victory over Karin Knapp, a second-round 7-6, 3-6, 6-1 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues, and a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win in three hours over 2010 finalist Anne Keothavong in the semifinals.
The end of the year found her as No. 30 in the world and No. 1 in Romania.
Her best result was again the final in Luxembourg, lost to Venus Williams.
Although in February Niculescu had reached rank No. 28, her career high so far, the inconsistent results during the season made her go down to world No. 58 by the end of the year.
Aside two WTA Tour semifinals in Shenzhen and Monterrey, Niculescu won her first singles WTA title in Florianópolis.
She played in round one of all the Grand Slam events, but lost the games constantly.
Yet, winning enough games and points in WTA tournaments, she kept her top-60 position, finishing the season as No. 59 in the WTA rankings.
In all, Niculescu had an improving season, reaching round three at Australian Open, round two at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, quarterfinals in Shenzhen, Hobart and Florianópolis, and semifinals in Bucharest. The best result was her winning the tournament in Guangzhou, as her second WTA title.
Thus, she entered top 50 again by the end of the year.
Much of early 2015 was particularly difficult for Niculescu, as she often faced difficult draws. For instance she drew world No. 1, Serena Williams, twice in a row in the second round of Indian Wells and Miami. While she managed to test Williams with a 5-7, 5-7 score, she was not able to win a set against her in either match. She also suffered first-round losses at Shenzhen, Hobart, the Australian Open, Dubai, Prague, and the French Open.
Niculescu won the Marseille clay $100K tournament in June. Shortly thereafter, she defeated first-seeded Agnieszka Radwa?ska 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 at the Nottingham grass tournament to earn a place in the final where she lost to teenager Ana Konjuh 6-1, 4-6, 2-6. All five matches she played went to three sets. She then lost in the first round at Birmingham to the 10th seed, Barbora Strýcová.
Niculescu earned a spot in the fourth round at the Wimbledon Championships for the first time, defeating Monica Puig 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, Jana ?epelová 6-3, 6-3, and Kristýna Plí?ková 6-3, 7-5. This is the second time she has made it past the third round at a major. Despite winning the first set of her fourth-round match 6-1 and having a positive head-to-head record against the player, she was defeated by 15th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky, who took the next two sets.
At the Australian Open, she lost to Anna Blinkova in the first round. Then, Niculescu played doubles with Abigail Spears, but they lost in the first round to Andrea Petkovic and Mirjana Lu?i?-Baroni. She won the WTA 125K series event at Limoges, on 12 November.
Nicolescu plays right-handed, with powerful topspin backhand and unpredictable forehand slice. She has great volleying ability and great footwork.
Her mother, Cristiana Silvia Niculescu is a pharmaceutical sales representative; her father Mihai Niculescu is an engineer. Niculescu has an older sister, Gabriela, who was a professional tennis player too and attended University of Idaho, after transferring from USC after her junior year.
Only main-draw results in WTA Tour, Grand Slam tournaments, Fed Cup/Billie Jean King Cup and Olympic Games are included in win/loss records.
Current through the 2021 US Open.
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||A||A||A||2R||3R||2R||QF||3R||2R||2R||1R||1R||SF||3R||3R||1R||0 / 13||19-13||59%|
|French Open||A||A||2R||3R||QF||3R||2R||3R||2R||1R||A||A||A||A||2R||3R||0 / 10||15-10||60%|
|Wimbledon||A||A||2R||3R||2R||2R||2R||1R||2R||2R||1R||F||3R||3R||NH||2R||0 / 13||18-13||58%|
|US Open||A||A||2R||3R||3R||1R||1R||1R||2R||2R||3R||3R||2R||1R||A||QF||0 / 13||15-13||54%|
|Win-Loss||0-0||0-0||3-3||7-4||8-4||4-4||5-4||4-4||4-4||3-4||2-3||7-3||7-3||4-3||3-2||6-3||0 / 49||67-49||58%|
|Summer Olympics||NH||A||NH||A||NH||1R||NH||2R||0 / 2||1-2||33%|
|Dubai / Qatar Open||NP5||QF||QF||A||2R||1R||A||A||QF||2R||A||A||1R||A||2R||0 / 8||9-8||53%|
|Indian Wells Open||A||A||A||QF||1R||1R||2R||1R||1R||2R||2R||1R||QF||2R||NH||A||0 / 11||8-11||42%|
|Miami Open||A||A||A||1R||2R||2R||SF||1R||2R||QF||SF||1R||1R||QF||NH||1R||0 / 12||13-12||52%|
|Madrid Open||NH||2R||A||1R||2R||A||2R||1R||1R||2R||A||A||NH||1R||0 / 8||4-8||33%|
|Italian Open||A||A||A||A||A||A||1R||QF||2R||2R||SF||1R||A||A||2R||1R||0 / 8||8-8||50%|
|Cincinnati Open||A||A||1R||SF||QF||1R||A||1R||1R||1R||QF||F||1R||A||NH||A||0 / 10||11-10||52%|
|Canadian Open||A||A||1R||1R||SF||2R||A||A||A||A||F||2R||1R||A||A||A||0 / 7||9-7||56%|
|Pan Pacific / Wuhan Open||A||A||A||A||A||A||1R||A||1R||F||A||A||2R+||A||NH||0 / 4||4-3||57%|
|China Open||Not Tier I||A||A||1R||1R||A||A||1R||2R||2R||2R||1R||NH||0 / 7||3-7||30%|
|Loss||2017||Wimbledon||Grass||Chan Hao-ching|| Ekaterina Makarova
|Loss||2015||Wuhan Open||Hard||Irina-Camelia Begu|| Martina Hingis
|Loss||2016||Canadian Open||Hard||Simona Halep|| Ekaterina Makarova
|Loss||2017||Cincinnati Open||Hard||Hsieh Su-wei|| Chan Yung-jan
|6-4, 4-6, [7-10]|
|Loss||0-1||Oct 2011||Luxembourg Open||International||Hard (i)||Victoria Azarenka||2-6, 2-6|
|Loss||0-2||Oct 2012||Luxembourg Open||International||Hard (i)||Venus Williams||2-6, 3-6|
|Win||1-2||Brasil Tennis Cup||International||Hard||Olga Puchkova||6-2, 4-6, 6-4|
|Win||2-2||Sep 2014||Guangzhou Open, China||International||Hard||Alizé Cornet||6-4, 6-0|
|Loss||2-3||Jun 2015||Nottingham Open, United Kingdom||International||Grass||Ana Konjuh||6-1, 4-6, 2-6|
|Loss||2-4||Korea Open, South Korea||International||Hard|
|Win||3-4||Oct 2016||Luxembourg Open||International||Hard (i)||Petra Kvitová||6-4, 6-0|
|Loss||3-5||Jan 2017||Hobart International, Australia||International||Hard||Elise Mertens||3-6, 1-6|
|Legend (pre/post 2009)|
|Grand Slam (0-1)|
|Premier 5 & Mandatory / WTA 1000 (0-3)|
|Tier II / Premier / WTA 500 (1-5)|
|International / WTA 250 (9-10)|
|Win||Nov 2017||Open de Limoges, France||Hard (i)||Antonia Lottner||6-4, 6-2|
|Win||1-0||Aug 2002||ITF Bucharest, Romania||10,000||Clay||Tsvetana Pironkova||6-1, 7-6(4)|
|Win||2-0||Apr 2003||ITF Cavtat, Croatia||10,000||Clay||Darija Jurak||6-4, 6-1|
|Win||3-0||Aug 2003||ITF Timi?oara, Romania||10,000||Clay||Veronica Rizhik||6-2, 6-3|
|Win||4-0||Feb 2004||ITF Albufeira, Portugal||10,000||Hard||Irina Kotkina||6-1, 3-6, 6-0|
|Win||5-0||Feb 2004||ITF Portimao, Portugal||10,000||Hard||Nadja Pavic||6-4, 7-6(4)|
|Win||6-0||May 2004||ITF Bucharest, Romania||10,000||Clay||Simona Matei||6-2, 6-2|
|Win||7-0||Aug 2004||ITF Ia?i, Romania||10,000||Clay||Raluca Olaru||7-6(5), 6-0|
|Win||8-0||Mar 2005||ITF Cairo, Egypt||10,000||Clay||Galina Fokina||6-4, 6-2|
|Win||9-0||Mar 2005||ITF Ain Sokhna, Egypt||10,000||Clay||Magdaléna Rybáriková||6-3, 6-4|
|Win||10-0||May 2005||ITF Antalya, Turkey||25,000||Clay||Ekaterina Dzehalevich||6-2, 6-2|
|Win||11-0||Aug 2005||ITF Coimbra, Portugal||25,000||Hard||Aravane Rezaï||6-3, 6-1|
|Loss||11-1||Jul 2006||ITF Stuttgart, Germany||25,000||Clay||Yevgenia Savranska||6-7(4), 5-7|
|Loss||11-2||Jul 2006||ITF Darmstadt, Germany||25,000||Clay||Magda Mihalache||0-6, 1-6|
|Loss||11-3||Aug 2006||ITF Coimbra, Portugal||25,000||Hard||Kelly Liggan||0-6, 6-7(7)|
|Win||12-3||Sep 2007||ITF Granada, Spain||25,000||Hard||María José Martínez Sánchez||6-3, 6-4|
|Win||13-3||Oct 2007||ITF Istanbul, Turkey||25,000||Hard (i)||Oxana Lyubtsova||6-2, 6-0|
|Win||14-3||Nov 2007||ITF Port Pirie, Australia||25,000||Hard||Hwang I-hsuan||6-1, 6-2|
|Win||15-3||Nov 2007||ITF Mount Gambier, Australia||25,000||Hard||Lee Ye-ra||6-3, 6-1|
|Loss||15-4||Nov 2008||ITF Kraków, Poland||100,000||Hard (i)||Anne Keothavong||6-7(4), 6-4, 3-6|
|Loss||15-5||Jul 2010||ITF Pétange, Luxembourg||100,000||Clay||Mathilde Johansson||3-6, 3-6|
|Win||16-5||Nov 2012||ITF Nantes, France||50,000||Hard (i)||Yulia Putintseva||6-2, 6-3|
|Win||17-5||Jun 2015||ITF Marseille, France||100,000||Clay||Pauline Parmentier||6-2, 7-5|
|Win||18-5||Nov 2015||ITF Poitiers, France||100,000||Hard (i)||Pauline Parmentier||7-5, 6-2|
|Win||19-5||Jun 2019||ITF Ilkley, United Kingdom||100,000||Grass||Tímea Babos||6-2, 4-6, 6-3|
As of 1 November 2021
|Earnings ($)||Money list rank|
This article needs to be updated.(November 2021)
|1.||Li Na||No. 5||China Open||Hard||1R||6-4, 6-0|
|2.||Vera Zvonareva||No. 8||Qatar Open||Hard||2R||7-5, 3-2 ret.|
|3.||Petra Kvitová||No. 9||Fed Cup, Romania||Hard (i)||RR||6-3, 6-4|
|4.||Johanna Konta||No. 7||China Open||Hard||1R||6-1, 6-2|