Last week, two tournaments took place on the WTA tour, and Russians played in both finals. Lyudmila Samsonova in Abu Dhabi missed three match points against Belinda Bencic (6:1, 6:7(8), 4:6), and Anastasia Potapova defeated Petra Martic in Linz (6:3, 6:1).
Last year Samsonova and Potapova are one of the most progressive tennis players.
The last six months performed by Samsonova is one of the most powerful segments among all tennis players on the tour. Since August, she has held 10 tournaments, in which:
• won three titles – Washington, Cleveland and Tokyo;
• reached the final this week in Abu Dhabi, beating two strong top 30 and world No. 11 players, Veronika Kudermetova. And in the UAE, she was stopped only by the ninth racket of the world, Belinda Bencic, who lost only two matches in the 2023 season – Ige Sventek and Arina Sabolenko;
• Samsonova entered the US Open for the second time in her career in the second week of the Grand Slam tournament;
• And during this period, she scored two of four career victories over top 10 rivals.
As a result, since Monday Lyudmila is the 15th racket of the world. She has never climbed so high in the rankings. And to the top 10, she lacks a little more than 600 points.
Interestingly, Samsonova’s rise coincided with the start of work with a psychologist, whom she turned to after the 2022 grass season.
“Psychologically, it was hard for me to play every week at the same level. Playing and physically I’m fine, but psychologically I was not ready to take a step forward. Now I’m on the right track,” she said in an interview. At the same time, she noted that the game and the preparation process do not change – only the mood.
Ludmila has made great progress in her search for stability, but she still has a lot of work to do. For example, even in the last six months, she had at least three matches in which she missed many chances in the first game and then sank: at the US Open, she did not convert eight set points against Ayla Tomlyanovic, and earlier this year she lost games from double breaks against Sabolenko and Amanda Anisimova.
And she really lacks big results in major tournaments. During her career, she held 21 tournaments above the WTA 500 category, but only went beyond the second round in five and did not reach the quarterfinals in any of them. But it is the major tournaments that are the biggest source of points that will allow you to break into the top 10.
21-year-old Anastasia Potapova is now holding the best segment in her career.
• in April 2022 in Istanbul, she won the first WTA title in her career;
• and since July last year, she has also won the WTA final (in Prague) and four semi-finals;
• and this week in Linz she took the second title. In Austria, she won four three-set matches against opponents who are below her in the rating, and in the decisive match she defeated Petra Martic (who is ranked higher).
Over the past year, Potapova has risen from outside the top 120 rankings into the top 40 rankings – as of Monday, she is the 31st racket of the world.
At the Australian Open, Anastasia told our correspondent Maxim Yanchevsky that now she has a period of great opportunities: “The road for me this year until the summer, one might say, is open. I don’t have to worry that the glasses will be burning somewhere, except for April. Everything is a plus.”
In order to make the most of this period, Potapova, in principle, needs to solve the same problem as Samsonova – it is better to hold big tournaments. She shows all her main results at the WTA 250 level, but at larger competitions she mostly loses in the first and second rounds.
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