Hua Hin | Shnaider upsets Zhu to claim first WTA title

19-year old Diana Shnaider upset defending champion Zhu Lin in the final of the WTA 250 Thailand Open to claim her first WTA title on Sunday.

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. Diana Shnaider

The rising Russian teenager bounced back from a turbulent second set to up-end the Chinese No 3, 6-3 2-6 6-1, after a 1 hour 59 minute tussle.

Ranked 108, Shnaider’s solid baseline game unsettled her No 45-ranked opponent, prevailing in a competitive contest in challenging, humid conditions at the beach resort of Hua Lin.

“The atmosphere here feels like a Grand Slam, I’m not lying,” Shnaider said on court. “This is a Grand Slam for me here. The people and the energy has been amazing for me. This win will stay in my memory for a long time.”

Unseeded, Shnaider beat the top 3 seeds on her way to her maiden title, upsetting top seed Magda Linette from Poland in the 1st-round, and following that feat up with wins over No 3 seed Wang Xiyu and then 2nd-seeded Zhu in the final.

Shnaider is the second teenager to win a WTA title this season, joining World No 3 Coco Gauff, also aged 19, who started the year with a successful title defence in Auckland.


30-year old Zhu Lin, the No 2 seed, had not dropped a set in her title defence until meeting Diana Shnaider in the final at Hua Hin

Thailand Open/Facebook

Playing in her second WTA final, Shnaider enjoyed a blistering start to take the opening set after 44 minutes.

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.

She was overpowering Zhu from the baseline, and was efficient on her break chances as she converted the 2 break points she created to hand the Chinese 30-year old her first set-loss of the week.

Zhu turned the tables in the second, though, by taking advantage of a marginal dip in Shnaider’s form, running off 4 consecutive games from 2-2 by capitalising on uncharacteristic errors from her young opponent to set the stage for a thrilling finale.

Following a lengthy bathroom break, Shnaider returned to the court with renewed resolve, quickly resetting to break Zhu to love with a flurry of jaw-dropping baseline winners, and consolidating the break to lead 2-0.

As Zhu struggled to maintain her focus, the Russian teenager seized her chances to break her opponent 3 times, battering backhands from the baseline for the second break to lead 4-1 and then, using her court coverage and touch, closing out the milestone victory with a stunning backhand winner to clinch the decisive set and claim her first WTA title.

“The last two points were crazy,” she said afterwards. “I kept doing everything that I could. I’m so proud of myself. I was running as fast as I could for every ball.”

Shnaider was perfect on her break point conversions, taking all 5 of her opportunities, while she also dominated Zhu’s second serve, limiting the Chinese veteran to a 37.1% win rate, and winning 63.6% of her own second-serve points.

A standout at North Caroline State last year, Shnaider will surge back into the Top 100 on Monday.

She finished her breakout 2023 season at a career-high ranking of No 60, but came into Hua Hin ranked 108 and searching for her first win of the season after going 0-3 down across Brisbane, Hobart, and the Australian Open.


Miyu Kato & Aldila Sutjiadi, the top seeds, secured their third title as a pair by defeating the 2nd-seeded Hanyu Guo & Xinyu Jiang in Sunday's final at the Thailand Open

Thailand Open/Facebook

In the doubles final, Japan’s Miyu Kato & Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia, the top seeds, secured their third title as a pair by defeating the 2nd-seeded Chinese duo of Hanyu Guo & Xinyu Jiang, 6-4 1-6 [10-7] in 81 minutes.

Their previous title wins came in Auckland and Cleveland in 2023.


Thailand Open champion Diana Shnaider poses with her trophy on Sunday

Thailand Open/Facebook


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