Samsonova triumphs in Washington for the second career title

Liudmila Samsonova clinched her second career singles title on the Hologic WTA Tour with a comeback victory in a stunning final at Sunday’s Citi Open, defeating No. 6 Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-3.

World No. 60 Samsonova took 1 hour and 46 minutes to defeat former top 15 player Kanepi, adding to her crown from last season’s Berlin grass tournament, which she won as a qualifier. Samsonova is now 2-0 up in the singles final at tour level.

Back on track: Samsonova, who achieved a career-high of No. 25 earlier this year, triumphantly ended a week in which she clinched her second career Top 10 win. She got that win in the quarterfinals when she defeated reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

So Samsonova dismantled lucky loser Wang Xiyu 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals before their final victory over Kanepi. Samsonova is now 2-0 with Kanepi after beating the 37-year-old Estonian veteran in the first round at Wimbledon last year.

Kanepi was denied her fifth career title since 2013 in Brussels and her first in almost a decade. Nonetheless, this season Kanepi has climbed back into the top 40 rankings for the first time since 2014.

History of the game: Samsonova prevailed in a duel between two of the well-known power hitters of the tour. Samsonova finished the game with 10 aces to Kanepis’ five, and the winner had 27 winners to 18 unforced errors. Kanepi’s 16 winners were surpassed by her 19 unforced errors.

Kanepi started as the stronger of the two. She never had a break point in the second set at 3-3, even holding a break point for a 6-4, 4-2 lead. However, Samsonova smashed that chance away with an excellent serve and stayed level in the second set.

The match turned there when Samsonova converted her first break point of the day in the next game, forcing an error with a rally forehand. Samsonova won the last four games of the second set to tie the match.

In the third set, Kanepi hit a double fault and three unforced errors to give Samsonova a love break to make it 5-3. Samsonova capitalized on that chance with aplomb, firing more rocket serves in the final game to clinch the title.

In doubles it gets down to business: Saturday’s doubles final was won by seeded Jessica Pegula and Erin Routliffe, who secured a championship point before defeating Anna Kalinskaya and Caty McNally 6-3, 5-7. [12-10].

Kalinskaya and McNally held their championship point in the match tiebreak at 9-8 before Pegula and Routliffe took four of the next five points to celebrate a win after 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Pegula won her third career WTA doubles title, all won that year and with three different partners. Routliffe clinched her second career WTA doubles title this week.

There’s more to come…

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