China’s Lin Zhu triumphed over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the final of the 2023 Thailand Open in the seaside resort of Hua Hin on Sunday evening.
It was Lin’s first-ever WTA final, and she was the first Chinese player to make it past the quarter-final stage at the Thailand Open.
After a patchy start the 28-year-old, who is ranked 54, steadied before going on to clinch victory 6-4, 6-4.
Tsurenko, once ranked 23 but competing in a major final for the first time in five years, did not give her a smooth ride.
She battled back from match point down near the end of the second set, unsettling Lin enough to force the younger player into a series of unenforced errors.
But the Ukrainian was visibly discomforted by the swarms of mosquitos later invading the court, allowing an opening for her opponent, who fought through a series of nail-biting rallies for the win.
“I would not be here without you guys,” Lin said, thanking her team and the fans who came out and supported her.
Tsurenko paid tribute to her “amazing” opponent, adding: “Days like this I hope you just have more and more, just play as amazing as you played today.”