A Rome-based Russian ranked outside the Top 100 sent double Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka to the sidelines on Saturday with a semi-final shock at the WTA Berlin grass event.

No. 106 Liudmila Samsonova, trained by Italian coaches for much of her career, needed just 66 minutes to book the Sunday finals spot against Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic.

The Russian outside defeated seventh seed Azarenka 6-4, 6-2 to reach her first WTA title match.

Bencic rolled France’s Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-4 in their earlier semi at the debut edition in the German capital.

Samsonova ended with 24 winners – including 11 aces – and kept her unforced error count to a miniscule six as she upset the winner of two Australian Open titles from Belarus..

The feat will send the 22-year-old into the Top 100 in time for Wimbledon’s June 28 start.

“It’s all incredible to me, it’s so new,” the winner said. “I’m so happy, this is just unbelievable.

“I love grass, but I came here in a period of low confidence. Now, the more I play on it, the better I feel.

“I was fearful before my first match, but as I won the weight began to lift.

“The final against Belinda will be tough for sure, she is very good on this surface. 

“But I will just focus on my game and we will see.”

Main photo:- Liudmila Samsonova into Berlin Final – by WTATennis.com/Jimmie48


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