Russian tennis players win three out of four tournaments before the US Open


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It was a week for Russian professional tennis players – four tournaments, three titles.

One of them, Lyudmila Samsonova, hopes her recent run of success is not just a coincidence, shortly after her country was banned from competing at Wimbledon due to its occupation and ongoing war. , Ukraine.

“We are all very angry about the situation,” said Samsonova, who beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Citi Open final on Sunday for her second career WTA title. “I mean, it’s been a really tough month.”

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Daria Kasatkina of Russia holds the trophy after defeating Shelby Rogers in the singles final at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at the Spartan Tennis Complex on August 07, 2022 in San Jose, California.
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Samsonova lifted her trophy in Washington a day after top-ranked Medvedev defeated Britain’s Cam Norrie for the championship in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Kasatkina won the title with a win over American Shelby in San Jose, California, hours earlier. Rogers. All three events are hard-court tuneups ahead of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, which begins on August 29 in New York; Medvedev is the defending champion there. (The fourth title of the week, Nick Kyrgios of Australia, won the men’s event at the City Open; Russia’s Andrey Rublev reached the semi-finals).

At the previous Grand Slam tournament, Wimbledon, which was held from late June to July, all athletes from Russia and Belarus were barred by the All England Club because of the attack on Ukraine. That prompted the WTA and ATP professional tours to withhold ranking points from the tournament, meaning it fell short of any player’s record earned there in 2021 and cannot replace how she performed there this year.

“It’s been a good week for us. I wouldn’t say that Wimbledon gave us much motivation, because we want to win these tournaments and matches in any case. I think that happened in this particular week. , three Russian players won titles. It doesn’t happen often, let’s say, “in Ukraine. Kasatkina said, calling for an end to the fighting. “I think it’s just a coincidence. It shows we’re at a good level.”

Nick Kyrgios won the Citi Open, ending a three-year title drought

Daniel Medvedev of Russia celebrates with the trophy after winning his match against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain after the final match of the Miffel ATP Los Cabos Open 2022 at the Cabo Sports Complex on August 06, 2022 in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

Daniel Medvedev of Russia celebrates with the trophy after winning his match against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain after the final match of the Miffel ATP Los Cabos Open 2022 at the Cabo Sports Complex on August 06, 2022 in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
(Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

When Samsonova arrived in Washington a week ago, her ranking had fallen from a career-best 25th in May to 60th. And he hadn’t played a match on tour since June.

She used that time to go to her training base in Italy and work on her game – and herself.

He began collaborating with a mental coach (“I can’t thank her enough,” Samsonova said Sunday). She tried to improve her topspin forehand, her serve and return, all of which paid off when she won against US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the quarterfinals and Kanepi in the final.

Asked on Sunday about Wimbledon and the results she and the other Russians produced this week, Samsonova said: “We had a lot of time to work, so I think we used it well.”

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Lyudmila Samsonova of Russia poses with the trophy after winning the final against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia at the City Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, in Washington.

Lyudmila Samsonova of Russia poses with the trophy after winning the final against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia at the City Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A couple of weeks ago, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to play in Washington. This is because her visa will expire in July and she was told that there will not be enough time to complete the application process for renewal.

That would mean missing not only the City Open but also other tournaments in the country, possibly including the US Open. (Unlike the All England Club, the US Tennis Association announced it would allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to enter the draw).

Fortunately, Samsonova said, it worked out, otherwise she might have returned to Europe to play in some lower-level events.

“I really don’t know” what will happen, she admits.

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Russia's Daria Kasatkina Mubadala kisses the Silicon Valley Classic trophy after a 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-2 win over American Shelby Rogers on Sunday in San Jose, Calif., Aug.  7, 2022.

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina Mubadala kisses the Silicon Valley Classic trophy after a 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-2 win over American Shelby Rogers on Sunday in San Jose, Calif., Aug. 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

The papers arrived, Samsonova arrived in Washington, and on Sunday night, she was wondering what Medvedev and Kasatkina might have been: What’s the right way to celebrate?

“Sure,” said 23-year-old Samsonova, “a few drinks.”



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