WTA Washington Final Prediction: Kaia Kanepi vs Liudmila Samsonova

Liudmila Samsonova in action at the WTA Washington Open.
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The final is set at the WTA Washington Open after two dominant semifinal victories. Sixth seed Kaia Kanepi is looking to win her first title since 2013 as the veteran Estonian is playing in her tenth career final. Liudmila Samsonova, meanwhile, is unseeded and playing in just her second career final and her first on a hard court. While there is a 14 year age difference between the two players, both play similar games. It will be power on power with hard-hitting ground strokes coming from both sides. But who will come out on top?

WTA Washington Final Prediction

Kaia Kanepi vs Liudmila Samsonova

Head-to-head: Samsonova 1-0 Kanepi

Their one prior meeting came at Wimbledon last year, in the midst of an excellent run by Samsonova on grass. The Russian won 6-4 6-2 in a quick match where she had control from start to finish. Kanepi will have to try to jump on Samsonova quickly and play short points to avoid errors and long, physical rallies. She has dropped the first set of two of her four matches here, so she will need to avoid the slow start in the final.

Kanepi has also spent more time on court than Samsonova, though her shortest match all tournament did come in the semifinal. Samsonova has prevailed through a difficult draw and dropped one set all tournament, with her semifinal match her shortest of the tournament as well. Samsonova scored excellent straight-set wins over Elise Mertens and Emma Raducanu, the fifth and second seeds respectively. Kanepi has yet to play a seed all tournament so was not nearly as tested as Samsonova.

The Washington final will likely come down to form and fitness on a hot, humid day. Kanepi has had a better year to date but Samsonova looks almost unbeatable this week. She has battled through a difficult draw and done so with ease. Kanepi has had an easier draw but had to come back from a set down twice in four matches. Not only does this show she is vulnerable, but that court time adds up for a player at her age.

At 37-years-old the extended time on court plus the early-afternoon final will likely affect her physically while Samsonova is fresher and much younger. Samsonova is playing well and been a threat on every return game, securing five breaks of serve in each of her last three matches. Kanepi is a great player and will not make it easy, but at her age and showing her vulnerability this week will not have enough to beat Samsonova. Samsonova will come out swinging and wear Kanepi down throughout the match. It will be close, but Samsonova should have enough to get over the line.

Prediction: Samsonova in 3

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