Samsonova defeats Sasnovich in Cleveland for a 2nd consecutive title | Olympic Games

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CLEVELAND, AP — Liudmila Samsonova of Russia won her second straight WTA Tour title, defeating seventh seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-1, 6-3 in the championship match at Tennis in The Land Saturday.

Samsonova, ranked No. 45 in the world, did not drop a set in five games during the US Open tune-up in Cleveland. She won the Citi Open crown in Washington three weeks ago and heads to New York on a career-best 10-game winning streak.

No. 36 Sasnovich was seeking her first WTA championship, but never held the lead in the 72-minute final on the Jacobs Pavilion Stadium pitch at Nautica. Samsonova broke it in all four service games of the first set.

“I’m a little sad right now, but I’m happy for Liuda, who will be in the top 10 soon, I hope,” said Sasnovich, who is 0-4 in career finals. “She is so humble, educated and kind. I tried to do my best, but Luda was better today.

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Unseeded Samsonova showed precision on back-to-back days, ending Bernarda Pera’s 13-game winning streak in just 53 minutes in the semi-finals. She won 32 of 36 service points against Pera, then converted 31 of 46 against Sasnovich.

Samsonova wrapped up her third career title with a baseline backhand that caught the boards and fell softly past a charging Sasnovich.

Both players were listed as individuals by the WTA, which suspended recognition of the Russian and Belarusian tennis federations following their nations’ invasion of Ukraine.

“We were both flagless this week, so I want to give big congratulations to Sasha and her team,” Sasnovich said. “We have heard you fans so loudly throughout the week. Thanks. I hope to be back next year.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia was the inaugural Tennis in the Land champion in 2021 but did not return to the tournament.

Second seeds Nicole Melichar-Martin of the United States and Ellen Perez of Australia won the doubles final 7-5, 6-3 over fourth seeds Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

Melichar-Martin and Perez won their first team championship after finishing second in Toronto and Cincinnati earlier this year.

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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