Mertens eases past Niculescu in Hobart final

Elise Mertens secured her maiden WTA Tour title with a comfortable win over Monica Niculescu in the Hobart International final.

Mertens, the Belgian qualifier, eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory over Romanian third seed Niculescu in the decider on Saturday.

The 21-year-old world number 127 was in her first WTA final and recorded her win in one hour, 14 minutes.

Mertens broke serve five times while giving up just one break point - which Niculescu converted early on.

Niculescu, in her eighth decider, took a 2-0 lead before losing 12 of the next 14 games.

The world number 40 faces a qualifier in the Australian Open first round.

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