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.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.