LAST year’s Hong Kong Open runner-up Daria Gavrilova admitted she had lost her concentration on Thursday as she made hard work of dispatching unseeded Monica Niculescu over almost three gruelling hours.

The Australian needed a third set tiebreaker — which she closed out with an emphatic smash — to finally break her resilient Romanian opponent, whose forehand slice and confident net play unnerved the seventh seed.

Gavrilova started the match in cruise control but her game started to unravel towards the end of the first set as unforced errors crept in, and Niculescu fought back with an armoury that also included a powerful double-handed backhand.

Australia's Daria Gavrilova hits a return to Romania's Monica Niculescu at the Hong Kong Open on Thursday night. Picture: AFP
Australia’s Daria Gavrilova hits a return to Romania’s Monica Niculescu at the Hong Kong Open on Thursday night. Picture: AFPSource: AFP

“I probably was getting a bit too emotional and frustrated because I felt like I was dictating, but I was making too many errors,” Gavrilova said.



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