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Pegula overpowers Samsonova to clinch Montreal Open crown

Jessica Pegula overpowered a weary Liudmila Samsonova to clinch the second WTA 1000 title of her career on Sunday with a victory in the Montreal Open.

The 29-year-old American world number three dominated her Russian opponent from start to finish to claim a whirlwind 6-1, 6-0 triumph in just 49 minutes.

Fifteenth-seed Samsonova had battled through to the final after winning a gruelling three-set semi-final earlier Sunday against third seed Elena Rybakina in a match held over from Saturday due to torrential rain.

But the challenge of winning twice in one day ultimately proved too much for Samsonova, a rampant Pegula determined to claim her second elite WTA title after victory in Guadalajara last year.

“I know obviously physically she wasn’t feeling her best, but at the same time I played a really clean match,” Pegula said after her win.

“I don’t think I made any unforced errors or anything. I played kind of a perfect match.” 

Pegula admitted, however, that she would have preferred to have faced a properly rested Samsonova.

“It’s not ideal… it sucks when you feel like you’re not on a really fair playing ground, especially someone like her who is such a great player,” Pegula said.

Samsonova, meanwhile, said the schedule had taken its toll, with little time to rest and recuperate between the semi-final and the final.

“I didn’t have time to regenerate because I was in the physio room to tape all my body, and it takes one hour. I was out of the court and then again in, it was strange,” she said.

Pegula, a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, was quickly into her groove with an early break in the opening set to go 3-1 up.

A superb crosscourt forehand put her 4-1 up before the visibly tired Samsonova was broken again in the sixth game to leave Pegula serving for the set.

Pegula, who defeated world number one Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals on Saturday, slammed down an ace to move to set point, then bludgeoned another ace to close out the set.

Samsonova’s troubles continued in the second set, with a double fault gifting Pegula a break in the opening game.

From that point, it became simply a question of how quickly Pegula would wrap up victory, and the American was in no mood to drag out the second set.

A brilliant backhand crosscourt volley helped set up a break for a 3-0 lead and she then reeled off three more games to seal an emphatic win.

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