’s-Hertogenbosch | Samsonova denies Andreescu birthday title

No 2 seed Liudmila Samsonova from Russia dashed Canada’s Bianca Andreescu’s birthday title hopes to win her first title of the season, 4-6 6-3 7-5, in the final of the Libéma Open in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, on Sunday.

I'm a little bit tired, honestly. I think, where I go it always rains, I don't know. It's already one month, and it's raining all the day. It's amazing to have the title after a week like that. Liudmila Samsonova

It is Samsonova’s 5th title on the Hologic WTA Tour, and her second on grass, having won her first in Berlin in 2021, and it took her 2 hours and 34 minutes to accomplish.

Earlier in the day, Samsonova had completed a 6-3 6-7(1) 6-1 hard-fought win over her compatriot, two-time Den Bosch champion Ekaterina Alexandrova, after rain had suspended their semi-final the previous evening.

“Mentally, I think today was difficult. I didn’t have much energy and I found something really, really deep in me,” Samsonova said afterwards. “It was really amazing, this feeling. I felt like an experienced player.”

The 25-year old came into ‘s-Hertogenbosch ranked No 15, and had eased through her first 3 rounds without losing a set, to Alison Van Uytvanck, Celine Naef and Greet Minnen, before inclement weather forced her to do double duty on Sunday.

“I’m a little bit tired, honestly,” Samsonova said on court. “I think, where I go it always rains, I don’t know. It’s already one month, and it’s raining all the day. It’s amazing to have the title after a week like that.”

Samsonova’s day had begun with the resumption of her semi-final showdown with Alexandrova, the No 3 seed, who had had saved match points the night before to force a third set before play was suspended due to rain.

The 2nd seed, though, only needed 32 minutes to close out the win, and ended Alexandrova’s title defence after an hour and 31 minutes of play.


No 2 seed Liudmila Samsonova beat Bianca Andreeescu to win the 2024 Libéma Open at ’s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday

WTAtennis.com

Competing in her 8th career final on the WTA Tour, and first of the season, Samsonova’s consistent baseline barrage proved the difference against Andreescu, who was playing only her second tournament of the year after a 9-month lay-off due to a back injury.

“I’m super happy the way I found the solution, mentally,” Samsonova said later. “Mentally, I think, today was difficult. I didn’t have much energy, and I found something really, really deep in me. It was really amazing this feeling. I felt like an experienced player.”

Andreescu took advantage of a sluggish start from Samsonova to break twice in the opening set and seal an early advantage, but the Russian struck back immediately, breaking the Canadian for a 3-0 lead in the second before forcing the decider.

Wild-card Andreescu took an off-court medical time-out early in the third, and returned with her upper left leg taped.

Samsonova led by an early break in the decider, but Andreescu levelled the set at 4-4, and bravely saved 3 break points to hold and lead 5-4, but the Russian was undeterred, reeling off 12 of the final 14 points.

After a dominant hold, she broke the Canadian one final time, and served out the win, finishing with a winning backhand pass down the line to wrap up the contest, and ending with 36 winners, doubling up on Andreescu’s 18.

Three years ago in Berlin, Samsonova made her first big splash on tour as a qualifier at the 500-level grass event by posting successive wins over Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic to taste victory, which she then followed up by reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon.


Bianca Andreescu let a set lead slip on her birthday against Liudmila Samsonova in the final

Libéma Open/Facebook

Andreescu, now 24, was bidding to lift her first trophy since joining the major winner’s club by lifting the 2019 US Open title.

Having won 3 of her first 4 tour-level finals, Andreescu has finished runner-up in her last 3 title match appearances.

“For me, this is definitely a step forward,” Andreescu said. “I’ve been through a lot for quite some time, especially the last 10 months. This is just my second tournament back. Obviously it’s upsetting, but I know there are good things coming for me.”


Playing for the first time together, Ingrid Neel & Bibiane Schoofs won the women's doubles title at the Libéma Open, beating Tereza Mihalikova & Olivia Nicholls in the final on Sunday

Libéma Open/Facebook

In the doubles, Estonia’s Ingrid Neel & Bibiane Schoofs from the Netherlands defeated Slovakia’s Tereza Mihalikova & Olivia Nicholls from Great Britain, 7-6(6) 6-3, to capture the title.

It is the first team win for the Estonian-Dutch duo.



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