Diana Shnaider beats Zhu Lin in Thailand Open for 1st WTA title

Rising Russian star Diana Shnaider bounced back from a turbulent second set to upend defending champion Zhu Lin of China 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 for her first title at the WTA Thailand Open on Sunday.

The No. 108-ranked NC State student displayed a fierce and solid baseline game to unsettle her No. 45-ranked adversary, prevailing in a competitive contest lasting 1 hour, 59 minutes amid challenging, humid conditions at the beach resort.

Facing a brief setback as Zhu fought back from 1-4 to 3-4, Shnaider regained control by unleashing deep flat strokes, managing to break back to lead 5-3 before comfortably securing the first set.

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In the second, Zhu mounted a comeback, winning four successive games from 2-2, to force a decisive third set.

The Chinese player capitalized on uncharacteristic errors from her opponent to set the stage for a thrilling conclusion.

Following a bathroom break, Shnaider returned to the court with renewed intensity. As Zhu struggled to maintain focus, Shnaider seized the chance to break her opponent three times to clinch the decisive set and claim her first WTA title.

It was Shnaider’s second WTA final appearance, having previously lost to Ons Jabeur in Ningbo, China, in September.

“I feel like I won a Grand Slam. I’m not lying, guys. This win will stay in my memory for a long time,” Shnaider said.

“The last two points were crazy. I kept doing everything that I could. I’m so proud of myself. I was running as fast as I could for every ball.” In the doubles final, Miyu Kato of Japan and Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia secured their third title as a pair by defeating the Chinese duo of Hanyu Guo and Xinyu Jiang 6-4, 1-6, 10-7. Their previous victories came in Auckland and Cleveland in 2023.

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