Washington – It’s been a big week for the pros in Russia Tennis Players – four championships, three titles.
One of them, Lyudmila Samsonova, believes it may not be a coincidence that this recent success of hers, Daria Kasatkina and Daniil Medvedev, comes shortly after they were banned from competing at Wimbledon due to their country’s ongoing invasion of the country. , Ukraine.
“We are all very angry about the situation,” Samsonova said after defeating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-3 in the City Open final on Sunday to win her second WTA title. “I mean, it’s been a really tough month.”
Samsonova won her title in Washington a day after Medvedev, who tops the men’s rankings, beat Britain’s Cam Nouri for the tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico, and several hours before Kasatkina won the title in San Jose, California, by defeating American Shelby. Rogers. All three events are hard-court modifications ahead of the latest Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, which begins in New York on August 29; Medvedev is the title holder there. (Australian Nick Kyrgios won this week’s fourth title, the men’s event at the City Open, and Russian Andrey Rublev reached the semi-finals.)
At its previous Grand Slam event, Wimbledon, which ran from late June to July, the All England Club banned all athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating due to the attack on Ukraine. That prompted the WTA Tour and WTA Tour to withhold ranking points from the tournament, meaning that whatever was won there in 2021 fell off the player’s record and could not be replaced by his performance there this year.
“It’s been a great week for us. I wouldn’t say Wimbledon (given) a lot of motivation for us, because we want to win these tournaments and matches anyway. I think it happened, in this particular week, that three Russian players won titles,” said Kasatkina, who called To the end of the fighting in Ukraine, “It doesn’t happen very often, let’s say. I think it’s just a coincidence. It shows that we are on a good level.”
When Samsonova arrived in Washington a week ago, her ranking dropped from 25th in May to 60th. She hasn’t played a tour match since June.
She used that time to go to her training base in Italy and work on her game – and herself.
She began teaming up with a mental trainer (I can’t thank her enough), Samsonova said on Sunday. She sought to improve her forehand at top speed, serve, and comeback, all of which paid off during a win over US Open champion Emma Radocano in the quarter The final and against Kanebi in the final.
When asked on Sunday about Wimbledon and the results she had with other Russians this week, Samsonova said: “We had a lot of time to work, so I think we (used) that well.”
Until two weeks ago, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to play in Washington. That’s because her visa was due to expire in July, and she was told there might not be enough time to complete the application process for renewal.
It would probably mean losing not only the Citi Open, but also the other tournaments in the country, possibly including the US Open. (Unlike the All England Club, the US Tennis Association has announced that it will allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to enter the raffle.)
Fortunately, Samsonova said, it worked, otherwise she’d be back in Europe to play in some lower-level events.
“I really don’t know” what was going to happen, she admitted.
The papers arrived, Samsonova arrived in Washington, and on Sunday night, she was thinking about something that might as well be Medvedev and Kasatkina: What’s the right way to celebrate?
“Sure, some drinks,” said the 23-year-old Samsonova.
Writer Jenny McCauley contributed to the Associated Press in San Jose, California.
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