Citi Open: Kaia Kanepi to square off against Liudmila Samsonova in title meeting

Both players were untroubled in their respective penultimate encounters

by Abbey Johnson
Citi Open: Kaia Kanepi to square off against Liudmila Samsonova in title meeting

It will be Kaia Kanepi and Liudmila Samsonova vying for the Citi Open crown on Sunday. The sixth-seeded Kanepi’s the last seed left in the draw in Washington DC. Kanepi needed 73 minutes to dispatch off Daria Saville in their semi-final, 6-3, 6-1.

The 37-year-old put in only 49% of her first serves in but won 80% of her first-serve points. In comparison, Saville who put in 56% of her first serves was able to win only 50% points off them. Kanepi failed to save the lone break point she faced but converted five break points on the Australian’s serve.

Speaking to the media following her win, Kanepi went on to share, “I think I played my best match today. 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”.

This is the first time the Estonian’s reached the final of a WTA event in more than a year. In 2021, she reached the final of the Gippsland Trophy, losing to Elise Mertens eventually.

Citi Open: Liudmila Samsonova's ruthless domination

Meanwhile, Kanepi’s rival on Sunday, Samsonova posted a 6-1, 6-1 win of her own against China’s Xiyu Wang.

Samsonova finished the match in 67 minutes. Samsonova won 84% of her first-serve points and 78% of her second-serve points. She also won 70% points on return on Wang’s second serve. She saved the only break point she faced while converting five of the eight break points she had on her rival’s serve.

She finished the match with 59 points, 29 more than Wang’s 30. The Citi Open final’s the second of Liudmila Samsonova’s career, coming a year after she reached her maiden final at the German Open in June 2021.

Back then, she defeated Belinda Bencic to claim her first WTA trophy. Heading into this match-up, Samsonova carries a slender 1-0 win-to-loss record against Kaia Kanepi after having beaten the latter at the 2021 Championships.

Kaia Kanepi Liudmila Samsonova