In a field featuring seven players in the Top 16, who would have believed a qualifier would come away with the title? That’s what happened as today qualifier Liudmila Samsonova punctuated an incredible week by stunning Belinda Bencic from a set down 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 to win the the Berlin title.
“It’s unbelievable,” Samsonova said. “I didn’t expect it. I dream it, but it’s amazing.”
The 106th-ranked Samsonova dropped the first five games of the match, then recovered against the World No. 12 taking a 4-0 lead in the second. She finished +13 winners-to-errors in the match.
En route to her first WTA final, the powerful 22-year-old Russian upset Marketa Vondrousova in her opener, then countrywoman Veronika Kudermetova, Madison Keys in the quarters and cruised past Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. Plus two more wins in qualifying.
Samsonova becomes the 10th first-time winner of 2021 on the WTA tour, and second of the week after Ons Jabeur’s big win in Birmingham. The last qualifier to win a title was Clara Tauson earlier this year in Lyon.
Bencic falls to 4-8 in WTA finals. She’s lost six of her last eight including two this year. She was seeking her first title since Moscow 2019.
With the win, Samsonova will vault into the Top 64, and she also got a wildcard into Wimbledon. In her form and with her power, she’s not a player the top seeds would like to face.
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