Tennis: Qualifier Samsonova downs Azarenka to reach Berlin final

Ludmilla Samsonova of Russia in action against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Ludmilla Samsonova of Russia in action against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN (AFP) - Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova made light of her world ranking of 106 to defeat former number one and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka to reach the Berlin WTA grass court final on Saturday (June 19).

Samsonova, 22, will face world number 12 Belinda Bencic for the title on Sunday after her 6-4, 6-2 win over Azarenka.

"It's all incredible for me, it's so new, and I'm very happy for it," Samsonova said.

Samsonova claimed her second Top 20 win of her career by firing 24 winners (including 11 aces) past the Belarusian.

She is the fifth qualifier to reach a singles final on the WTA this season and will comfortably make her Top 100 debut next week.

Switzerland's Bencic, seeded fifth, ended the run of Alize Cornet to progress to the final with a 7-5, 6-4 win.

Bencic improved to 3-1 against Cornet as her victory placed her into the fourth grass-court final of her career.

Bencic won the 2015 Eastbourne title for her best-ever grass-court result on tour.

"I always try to play as many tournaments on grass as possible because I just love the surface," Bencic said.

France's Cornet, 63rd in the world, reached the last four after an upset win over former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.

Samsonova enjoyed a 6-4, 6-2 win over Azarenka (above). PHOTO: EPA-EFE