By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Seeking her first WTA title in more than nine years, Tour veteran Kaia Kanepi (right) will play for the Citi Open crown Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Rock Creek Park.
Kanepi advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 semifinal win over Daria Saville in 73 minutes Saturday on Stadium Court.
“I think I played my best match today,” Kanepi told reporters after the win. “Everything was very smooth for me. I think I hit a lot of lines. It's tough to do it every day, so I think today was a good day for me.”
The No.6 seed will next face Liudmila Samsonova in Sunday’s championship. Samsonova also advanced with relative ease needing just 67 minutes to defeat lucky loser Xiyu Wang 6-1, 6-1.
Samsonova, 23, will now vie for her second career WTA title after winning on the grass courts of Berlin in 2021. Kanepi, 37, will be seeking her first tournament triumph since winning in Brussels in 2013.
A long awaited fifth career WTA crown would be a fitting benchmark for Kanepi who has produced consist results in 2022.
Beginning in January with her first career quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open, the tone was set for a solid campaign. Runs to the third round at Indian Wells, Miami and Wimbledon would follow, but Kanepi says the success in Melbourne combined with a more conservative schedule at age 37, set the tone for a big year on Tour.
“It was amazing, actually, for me,” Kanepi said of reaching the Final-8 at the Australian Open. “I never thought I would make quarters in Australia. I thought it's not just my place. But I played really well, and then I continued playing well. I didn't actually put any pressure on myself to achieve something special.”
Samsonova beat Kanepi in their only prior meeting in the first round at Wimbledon in 2021.
PEGULA-ROUTLIFFE PARTNER FOR DOUBLES CROWN:
Jessica Pegula is now a two-time Citi Open champion. The 2019 singles champ partnered with Erin Routliffe to capture the 2022 doubles crown Saturday afternoon on John Harris Court.
Playing together this week for the first time, Pegula and Routliffe saved a match point against in the super tiebreaker before holding off Caty McNally and Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 5-7, 12-10 for the title.