2021 Wimbledon: Liudmila Samsonova stuns Sloane Stephens, reaches last 16
Russian wildcard Liudmila Samsonova has stunned Sloane Stephens in the third round of 2021 Wimbledon. Samsonova knocked out the 2017 US Open champion after winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. The 22-year-old has reached the last 16 for the first time at a Grand Slam. Samsonova, who earlier defeated Jessica Pegula and Kaia Kanepi, has earned the biggest win of her career. Here's more.
Samsonova continued her dominant run in the tournament by claiming an early lead. She broke first, having extended her lead to 5-2. The Russian then earned a double break to win the first set. However, Stephens raised her game in the second set. She reeled off the first four games before winning the set point. Samsonova once again bounced back in the final set.
This is only the sixth Grand Slam main draw for Samsonova, and her first Wimbledon. She has won three back-to-back matches at a Grand Slam event for the first time. Samsonova's incredible run to the Berlin title as a qualifier had earned her Wimbledon qualification.
Samsonova has now won 10 consecutive matches in 2021. Earlier this year, she raced to her maiden ATP title. The 22-year-old reached the landmark by defeating fifth seed Belinda Bencic, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. She also earned a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals. Samsonova will now face eighth seed, Karolina Pliskova, in the fourth round of Wimbledon.
At the start of June, Samsonova was ranked outside the top 100. She was yet to win a match on grass. She had played only one main draw match on the court, wherein she was handed a first-round defeat. On the other hand, Stephens, who was vying for her second Grand Slam title, hasn't gone past the third round at Wimbledon since 2013.