A month into her come-back, Paula Badosa was forced to retire due to a back injury, sending Diana Shnaider into the quarter-final at the Thailand Open on Wednesday, while seeds Wang Xinyu (3) and Yulai Putintseva (7) advanced with wins over Nao Hibino and Viktorija Golubic respectively.
"Unfortunately, Paula Badosa had to retire due to a lower back injury. Get well soon, @paulabadosa! Tournament post on Instagram
Badosa, a former World No 2, is once again dealing with a back injury, after a spine fracture kept her off the WTA Tour since May 2023.
The Spaniard was down a set but leading 4-3 in the second when she went to the net and shook the 19-year old Russian’s hand.
In the last few games, Badosa was evidently struggling with something as she was limping on the court.
After missing much of the 2023 season, Badosa only returned to action at the start of the year.
“Unfortunately, Paula Badosa had to retire due to a lower back injury. Get well soon, @paulabadosa!” the tournament posted on its Instagram account.
Badosa, who was unseeded in Hua Hin, routinely won out her opening 2 service games to lead 2-1 before suffering back-to-back breaks in the 5th and 7th games as Shnaider took a 5-2 lead.
Down by a double break, Badosa held her own first break point in the 8th game, but failed to convert it, leaving Shnaider to earn her first set point and pocketed the opener.
After losing the first set, Badosa saved 2 break points in the 1st and 3rd games of the second, before collecting her first break of the match to open up a 3-1 lead, and then saved another in the 5th to go 4-1 up.
Shnaider responded by winning the next 2 games, when a now limping Badosa decided to retire, sending the young Russian into the 4th tour-level quarter-final of her career.
The teenager rose to a career-high of No 60 following her first WTA final in Ningbo last September, but fell out of the Top 100 this week after going 0-3 in this month’s Australian swing.
In Hua Hin, Shnaider ousted top-seeded Magda Linette from Poland in the 1st-round, and backed it up with a near-flawless first set against Badosa, firing return winners, passing shots and lobs to dominate the Spaniard.
Shnaider will play Dalma Galfi next, after the No 137-ranked Hungarian qualifier edged out the No 5 seed Wang Xiyu from China, 6-4 3-6 7-5, in 2 hours and 50 minutes to reach her 3rd career WTA quarter-final (following Budapest 2021 and Linz 2023), and first on outdoor hard courts.
Meanwhile, 3rd-seeded Wang Xinyu, also from China, defeated Japan’s Hibino, 7-5 6-4, while Putintseva, the Russian-born Kazakh, prevailed over Swiss Golubic, 7-6(0) 7-6(1).