Samsonova beats Kanepi to capture Washington WTA title

Liudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title on Sunday, beating Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday's women's final at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.
World number 60 Samsonova fired 10 aces and connected on 81.4% of her first-serve points to capture the crown after taking her only prior tour trophy at last year's German Open on Berlin grass.
The 23-year-old Russian had a six-week layoff before Washington after being among Russian and Belarus players not allowed to play at Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Kanepi, 37, was foiled in her bid to end a nine-year WTA title drought. She had not won a tour crown since the 2013 Brussels Open.
Samsonova dispatched three of the top six seeds, ousting reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu and fifth seed Elise Mertens before eliminating sixth seed Kanepi.
Kanepi took the only break point of the opening set when Samsonova sent a forehand wide in the 10th game.
In the second set, Samsonova broke for a 4-3 lead when Kanepi hit a backhand long and broke again in the ninth game to force a third set.
Kanepi netted a forehand to surrender a final break in the penultimate game and Samsonova held to seize the trophy, ending matters on a service winner after one hour and 46 minutes.
Samsonova also won their only prior meeting in last year's first round at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios and Japanese left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka were set to meet later in the men's final.
Kyrgios won the most recent of his six ATP titles at Washington in 2019 while Nishioka captured his only ATP crown in 2018 at Shenzhen.
The 27-year-old Aussie is 3-0 against Nishioka, most recently winning in the third round of his 2019 Washington title run.
Kyrgios, who lost to Novak Djokovic last month in his first Grand Slam final, made back-to-back tour-level finals for the first time in his career and hasn't had his serve broken this week.
Nishioka, 26, upset eighth-ranked Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals. Nishioka hadn't won a tour-level match since March until this week.

© 2022 AFP
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