Player Profile: The Rise Of Liudmila Samsonova

Liudmila Samsonova is fast becoming one of the strongest tennis players in the world. Going into the WTA 500 event in Berlin last week, Samsonova had only ever been to the quarterfinals or better at a WTA event one time. That changed in the German capital, Samsonova entered as a qualifier, defeating the likes of world No. 16 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals and No. 12 Belinda Bencic in the final. With this win the 22-year-old Russian soared from No. 106 to No. 63 in the world on the WTA rankings. In a press conference with the WTA after the match Samsonova said;

“I was so, so nervous today, even before the match, during the first set, I said, ‘Okay, let’s try to put more aggressive game.’ And it worked.”

And worked it did, as she stormed past Bencic 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the championship match.

From there Samsonova received a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam she hasn’t played in the main draw of yet. Her dominating run has continued prevailing over top seeds Kanepi 6-4, 6-2, Jessica Pegula 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Sloane Stephens 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Liudmila Samsonova born 11 November 1998, she is a Russian tennis player who competed for Italy from 2014 to 2018. Born in Olenegorsk, Russia, to her father Dmitry and mother Svetlana. Liudmila has been living for long in Italy, where she has also attended the local schools. However, she has always maintained that even if she loves living in Italy, her heart is Russian. Riccardo Piatti’s team followed Liudmila in the early stages of her career and she played for Italy between 2014 and 218. However, she struggled with her Italian citizenship and eventually she decided to play for Russia.

Her father had always urged her to start playing either table tennis or professional tennis, obviously choosing the latter. She started playing tennis at the age of six, joining a tennis academy in Sanremo after the local tennis federation helped her financially with that. Until 2018, Liudmila represented Italy in professional tennis, before switching to the Russian flag. Liudmila has stated, that if her parents had stayed in Russia, she would have chosen figure skating. 

In her junior years Liudmila peaked in the ITF juniors at 65th and managed to beat the now WTA players Kaja Juvan and Marta Kostyuk. From there she broke into the ITF circuit winning her $10k at an ITF event in Rome beating three seeded players to clinch the victory despite being unranked. This earnt her the 960th spot on the WTA rankings. Samsonova’s first real breakthrough came when she was leaving her teenage years. Reaching three $15k finals in Hammamet, Pula and Mâcon in 2017, respectively, the Russian almost halved her ranking and ended the year ranked 552nd. From there she continued to succeed on the ITF circuits throughout 2018, 2019 and 2020 before breaking into the main draws and making a steady presence.

With her win in Berlin and now her continued domination at Wimbledon we expect Liudmila Samsonova’s rise to continue. This young lady is going to be a force to reckon very soon and I can see her breaking into the top 20 at this rate.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

Written By: Neill Frazer

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