Liudmila Samsonova rallied to upset third seed Elena Rybakina 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday in a rain-postponed semifinal that was supposed to start on Saturday and will get about two hours’ rest before her Canadian Open title clash with Jessica Pegula.
Samsonova needed 103 minutes to seal victory in a match that began at 11:00 PM IST (1730 GMT) in Montreal and she will now have a quick turnaround ahead of the final taking place “after suitable rest” and not before 6:00 AM IST.
The Russian 15th seed fired down eight aces, broke Rybakina five times and saved three of six break points to reach the biggest final of her career.
“I feel so tired, honestly. I don’t know how I managed today,” said Samsonova, who played two matches on Friday to secure her spot in the semi-final.
“I want to enjoy the next match. I want to enjoy and play my best. I know for me it’s going to be harder than for the other because I played the first match today but I think I can enjoy it. I have nothing to lose.”
After forcing the decider, Samsonova remained in total control as she broke Rybakina in the opening game and again in the seventh for a 5-2 lead before serving out the match at love.
Rybakina held to love to open the match and broke for a 3-1 lead with a stinging cross-court forehand return that landed in the back corner and left Samsonova frozen on the baseline.
The 2022 Wimbledon champion took a commanding 5-1 lead when Samsonova handed over the break with a double fault before Rybakina closed out the 28-minute set on her serve and looked to be well on her way.
In the second set, with Rybakina suddenly struggling from the service line, Samsonova used more variety in her shots and put her drop shot to good use as she went up a double break for a 5-1 lead before serving out the frame.
Rybakina, whose 3-1/2-hour quarter-final marked the longest match in the tournament’s history, dropped serve to open the decider and immediately started grabbing at her taped-up shoulder.
Samsonova sensed her opportunity and held her nerve during the big moments to reach her first WTA 1000 final.
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