China’s Zhu Lin was crowned the 2023 Thailand Open presented by E@ champion with victory over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 64 64.
The WTA 250 title is the first of Zhu’s career and will see her ranking rise to within the top 50 for the first time. Zhu arrived in Hua Hin with momentum having reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.
In the first round she knocked out third seed and compatriot Wang Xiyu 46 63 60 and did not look back, following up with wins over Korea’s Su-Jeong Jang and Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek. In the semifinals she faced friend and doubles partner Wang Xinyu, but put friendship aside to secure victory 62 64.
In the final, in front of a near sell-out crowd, she faced a strong challenge from Tsurenko, who was playing in her first WTA final since 2019.
The moment Lin Zhu became a first-time WTA title holder in Hua Hin 🤗 pic.twitter.com/TeihJ535Jh
— wta (@WTA) February 5, 2023
Despite serving for the first set at 5-3 and being broken, Zhu held her nerve to take the set at the second opportunity on her serve 64.
An early break in the second set provided some breathing space and despite not being able to convert her first opportunity to serve out the match at 64 53, in a mirror of the first set, she took her second opportunity and claimed victory and the title 64 64.
On winning her first title Zhu said:
“I’m super happy to win my first title here in Hua Hin. The trophy is just so beautiful, the first one is always difficult and Lesia, she’s a fighter, she never gives up so I needed to give my 100% and I need to be more patient especially towards the end. I feel a little bit nervous but I know it’s normal so I have to handle that, I have to attack when I have a chance because she’s not gonna give this match to me and I’m super happy I did it.”
On achieving the goals she set for 2023 in February:
“At the beginning of this year my goal for me and my team was to break the top 50 and win a WTA title and now it’s only February I already did it! So maybe I have to talk with my team to adjust for the rest of the season.”
Despite finishing runner-up Tsurenko was happy overall with her time in Hua Hin and is happy to be pain-free after some long-term injury problems with her elbow:
“I’m not really happy with the result today but all the credit to my opponent. She played really well and she took me off balance all the time, hitting full power. She definitely deserved this trophy and I will just continue working and playing and enjoying things.
“I had a conversation with my team at the beginning of this year that I have no goals, I have no expectations because I was quite tired with the everyday pain. I did not put any pressure on myself. I was just playing in Canberra, in Melbourne, here and I’m really happy that I’m able to play like 13, 14 matches, which for me is incredible. This is the best thing for me, I’m just really happy to be playing.”
Chinese Taipei’s Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu proved too strong for a tired Zhu Lin and Wang Xinyu in the doubles final, taking the title 61 76(6). On winning the title Hao-Ching Chan said:
“I think they’re both very good players, singles and doubles, so even though we have an easy first set, we know that it’s gonna be tough in the second set, and we’re happy we fight on to the end and we win the match.
Results – Sunday, Feb 5
Singles Final – L. Zhu (CHN) d. L. Tsurenko (UKR) 64 64
Doubles Final – H. Chan (TPE) / F. Wu (TPE) d. X. Wang (CHN) / L. Zhu (CHN) 61 76(6)