Niculescu reaches final in Brazil

Monica Niculescu secured a berth in the final at the inaugural WTA Brasil Tennis Cup.

Niculescu upset seventh-seeded 19-year-old Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-0, 6-2 in 63 minutes on the hardcourts at Federacao Catarinense de Tenis.

The 25-year-old Romanian will meet the Venus Williams-Olga Puchkova semifinal winner in Saturday's championship match.

The Bucharest native Niculescu is seeking her first-ever WTA title. She was a runner-up in Luxembourg in both 2011 and last year.

This week's champion will pocket $40,000.