Russia’s Ludmilla Samsonova acknowledged it wasn’t easy at all against former world No. 3 Sloane Stephens but she was glad that she managed to find a way to beat the American at the Billie Jean King Cup.
Samsonova, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 40 in the world, beat Stephens 1-6 6-4 6-3 in the opening rubber of the semifinal tie.
“She was playing so well today, I had to find the key against her today, to push her. Because at the beginning I was running too much and I had to find the key to start to play more aggressively against her,” said Samsonova of Stephens, per the Billie Jean King Cup website.
“It means too much to me [to be part of this group]. It was a dream for me to play for the national team and it happened this year and I’m super happy.”
Samsonova led Russia to the final
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova lost the second rubber but Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova won the doubles rubber to seal a final ticket for Russia.
Pavlyuchenkova, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 12 in the world, spoke extremely highly of Samsonova after the tie.
“She’s one of the nicest girls I’ve met so far on tour and I’m so happy and honoured and proud that she’s on our team,” said Pavlyuchenkova,
“I think she has a bright future if she continues this way and she impressed me today because I wasn’t sure actually about the decision of putting her – nothing to do with her game, she has an amazing game, but because when you have your debut in this kind of format and competition it’s completely different and it’s so mental, so I wasn’t sure how she would handle it and she did just perfect. I’m happy she’s here.”