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8 Aug, 2022 07:45

Russian women’s stars complete hat-trick of tennis titles

Daria Kasatkina and Liudmila Samsonova added to Daniil Medvedev’s title triumph at the weekend
Russian women’s stars complete hat-trick of tennis titles

Russian women’s players Daria Kasatkina and Liudmila Samsonova made it a title treble for their country at the weekend as they enjoyed success in the US on Sunday, following men’s star Daniil Medvedev’s triumph in Mexico one day previously.

Russian women’s number one Kasatkina clinched her first title of the season after battling back from one set down to defeat American rival Shelby Rogers in their final at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.

Kasatkina prevailed 6-7 6-1 6-2 to earn a fifth WTA singles title of her career as the Russian moved into a career-best ninth spot in the updated WTA ratings on Monday.

The title capped an impressive run for the 25-year-old after she had overcome top-10 players Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka earlier in the tournament, as well as reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Kasatkina’s efforts also mean she now sits at number three in the race for the season-ending WTA Finals.

“[This title means] a lot because this title brings me many things. It’s the fifth title – that’s a nice number. My highest ranking ever. I’m third in the [WTA Finals] race,” Kasatkina told the WTA website after her win.  

“We don’t win titles every day. It’s always special to win a title, especially at a [WTA] 500. Especially with the list of the players that played here and you become the best this week of all of them. I’m really glad I'm the one who holds the trophy this week.”

Kasatkina had made headlines across tennis and beyond in recent weeks after announcing in an interview that she was gay.

The Russian star posed for photographs on court in San Jose after her victory with figure skater and partner Natalia Zabiiako.

There is little time to rest for Kasatkina as she gears up for the US Open at the end of August. She is next scheduled to compete at the Canada Open in Toronto this week.

Elsewhere, there was also joy for Russian women’s tennis on Sunday as Liudmila Samsonova earned a second WTA career singles title after an upset win over sixth seed Kaia Kanepi at the Citi Open in Washington DC.

Samsonova ran out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 winner across 1 hour and 46 minutes against her Estonian rival.

The Russian, 23, had beaten reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in straight sets in the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.  

The weekend saw a hat-trick of Russian title triumphs after Daniil Medvedev won his final at the ATP’s Los Cabos Open in Mexico.

The success follows a return for action for Russian stars after they were banned from competing in the previous Grand Slam of the season at Wimbledon because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Samsonova suggested that might have been extra motivation for the Russian title surge at the weekend, saying “we are all very angry about the situation,” according to the AP.

Kasatkina, however, played down that notion in her post-match comments.

“I wouldn’t say that Wimbledon [gave] a lot of motivation to us, because we want to win these tournaments and matches in any case,” she said.  

“I think it just happened that, in this particular week, three Russian players won titles. It’s not happening very often, let’s say.

“I think it’s just a coincidence. It shows that we’re on a good level.”