Russian Liudmila Samsonova, trained in Rome by an Italian coaching team, concluded a record-setting week by winning the new WTA Berlin grass event from a qualifying start.
The No. 106 outsider mounted a comeback against the Swiss fifth seed with four trophies including two at the WTA 500 level, fighting for a 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 result to earn the fist title of her career.
The victory also meant a wild card entry into Wimbledon, handed down only moments after the victory.
“I hope this season never ends,” the winner said after getting the news. “I want to improve my game and play as well as possible, I will keep giving my best.”
Samsonova said she was a bundle of nerves last night and during the opening set.
“I had a toilet break after the first set and told myself to play more aggressively and it worked. That was my main focus.
“This victory means everything to me. I didn’t expect it, but I had dreamed of it. it’s just amazing.”
Samsonova sent down 28 winners and 15 unforced errors against the overwhelming favourite, who has played a dozen finals and won five.
Samsonova had to recover from 0-5 down in the opening set as she got a taste of the seed’s big game,
But the qualifier began her fightback in the second set and managed to overturn the odds with victory in just under an hour and three-quarters with 14 aces and breaks on four of eight opportunities.
Bencic said her game broke down after sweeping the first set.
“I’m disappointed but my opponent played better. At times I felt like I was not needed on the court.
“She took the match in her hands, it was just not meant to be for me today.
“After the first set she started to play and I didn’t feel like I had a chance anymore.
“I still feel very good on grass and despite losing I will take confidence into Wimbledon, i cannot be negative just because I lost a match.”
Samsonova is the 10th first-time singles titlist on the WTA this season, joining Ons Jabeur who did the same in Birmingham shortly before.
Main photo:- Liudmila Samsonova with Berlin Trophy by WTATennis.com/jimmie48