Samsonova beats Sasnovich in Cleveland for 2nd title in row

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CLEVELAND — Liudmila Samsonova won her second straight WTA Tour title, beating seventh-seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-3 in the championship match at Tennis in The Land.

Samsonova, ranked No. 45 in the world, did not lose a set in five matches at the U.S. Open tune-up in Cleveland. She claimed the Citi Open crown in Washington three weeks ago and heads to New York with a career-best, 10-match winning streak.

No. 36 Sasnovich was seeking her initial WTA championship, but never held the lead in the 72-minute final on the stadium court at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Samsonova broke her in all four service games in the opening set.

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

The unseeded Samsonova displayed precision shot-making on back-to-back days, having ended Bernarda Pera’s 13-match win streak in just 53 minutes in the semifinals. 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 tape and fell softly in front of a charging Sasnovich.

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

“We were both without the flag this week, so I want to give very big congratulations to Sasha and her team,” Sasnovich said. “We heard you fans so, so loud through the week. Thank you. 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 captured the doubles final 7-5, 6-3 over fourth-seeded Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

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

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.