Liudmila Samsonova earned her second career singles title on the Hologic WTA Tour with a comeback win in a big-hitting Citi Open final on Sunday, overcoming No.6 seed Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
World No.60 Samsonova took 1 hour and 46 minutes to best former Top 15 player Kanepi, adding to her crown from the Berlin grass-court event last season, which she won as a qualifier. Samsonova is now 2-0 in singles finals at tour level.
"I think it was the hardest match of the week, because Kaia was playing amazing," Samsonova said in her post-match press conference. "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 found the solutions."
Back on track: Samsonova, who hit a career-high ranking of No.25 earlier this year, triumphantly wrapped up a week which saw her collect her second career Top 10 win. She grabbed that victory in the quarterfinals when she defeated reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.
Samsonova then dismantled lucky loser Wang Xiyu 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals before her final victory over Kanepi. Samsonova is now 2-0 against Kanepi, having defeated the 37-year-old Estonian veteran in the first round of Wimbledon last year.
Kanepi was denied her fifth career title, and her first in nearly a decade, since 2013 Brussels. Nevertheless, this season Kanepi has climbed back into the Top 40 of the rankings for the first time since 2014.
Tale of the match: Samsonova came out on top in the clash between two of the tour's noted power hitters. Samsonova finished with 10 aces to Kanepi's five, and the victor had 27 winners to 18 unforced errors. Kanepi's 16 winners were outpaced by her 19 unforced errors.
Kanepi started the stronger of the two. She never faced a break point through 3-3 in the second set, and she even held a break point for a 6-4, 4-2 lead. However, Samsonova swatted that chance away with an excellent serve and stayed level in the second set.
The match turned there as Samsonova converted her first break point of the day in the very next game, forcing an error with a rally forehand. Samsonova won the final four games of the second set to tie the match.
In the third set, Kanepi fired a double fault and three unforced errors to hand a love break for 5-3 to Samsonova. Samsonova took that chance with aplomb, firing more rocket serves in the last game to clinch the title.
Down to the wire in doubles: Saturday's doubles final was won by No.1 seeds Jessica Pegula and Erin Routliffe, who saved a championship point before edging No.4 seeds Anna Kalinskaya and Caty McNally 6-3, 5-7, [12-10].
Kalinskaya and McNally held their championship point at 9-8 in the match-tiebreak before Pegula and Routliffe claimed four of the next five points to squeak out a win after 1 hour and 37 minutes.
Pegula won her third career WTA doubles title, all of which have come this year, and with three different partners. Routliffe claimed her second career WTA doubles title this week.