Samsonova outlasts Kanepi in Women's Final

August 7, 2022 05:33 PM

 

By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)

TrophyLiudmila Samsonova (right) captured her second career WTA title, rallying past No.6 Kaia Kapeni 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on a steamy Sunday afternoon to win the Citi Open.

In a battle between a couple of heavy hitters, Samsonova fired 10 aces, won 81 percent of her first-serve points and was broken only once (the final game of the opening set).

“I think it was the hardest match of the week, because Kaia was playing amazing,” Samsonova said. “She was serving so well. I had some troubles to find the solution on the return. It was a tough mental game today, and I'm so happy that I find the solutions.”

En route to her second career WTA title (Berlin, 2021), Samsonova beat three of the top-six seeds in the field including No.2 Emma Raducanu in the quarterfinals.

Samsonova said the win is especially satisfying given the lull in her mid-summer schedule. Wimbledon’s ban of Russian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine, meant that Samsonova had a gaping hole in her summer itinerary. She used the time to practice more and adjust to her changing team, but she wasn’t sure how she’d respond in her return.

“It's like a dream, because I was practicing one month,” she said. “I had some troubles off the court. I change my team, so it was not easy decision. I was not able to play Wimbledon. It was very tough for me. So, yeah, I'm so happy about this week. I mean, it's unbelievable.”

Samsonova, 23, becomes the Citi Open’s 10th female champion and the first since 2019.

Kapeni, who was seeking her first title in nine years, will return inside the Top 40 in the WTA rankings for the first time since 2014.

 

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