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By Adrianna Outlaw | Saturday, February 4, 2023


Lesia Tsurenko held a 7-5, 4-0 lead over Bianca Andreescu when the Canadian retired sending the world No. 136 into her first final since 2019 in Hua Hin.

Photo credit: @BrisbaneTennis

A resilient Lesia Tsurenko rallied into her first WTA final since 2019.

World No. 136 Tsurenko held held a 7-5, 4-0 lead over Bianca Andreescu when the top-seeded Canadian retired with a sore shoulder sending the world No. 136 into the Thailand Open final on Hua Hin's hard courts.

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It is Tsurenko's first Tour-level final since she knocked off Naomi Osaka en route to the 2019 Brisbane title match.

"Of course I feel great. I think that Biancca is just an amazing player," Tsurenko said. "I told her this after the match. I think the way she is playing tennis is must-see on Tour because she's capable of doing all kinds of shots.

"I was just fighting and saying to myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately she had to retire because I think her shoulder is not so good. Anyway, it was a great match I think."

Playing for her first title since she defeated Serena Williams to win the 2019 US Open, Andreescu opened up a 5-3 lead, but Tsurenko locked in and refused to miss. The former world No. 23 ran off eight straight games before Andreescu pulled the plug suffering shoulder pain.

The victory vaults Tsurenko back to the Top 100 in the live rankings.

Ukrainian baseliner Tsurenko will face Lin Zhu in tomorrow's final.

Earlier, Lin Zhu broke in the opening game of both sets conquering seventh-seeded Xinyu Wang 6-2, 6-4, in today's all-Chinese semifinal.

The 54th-ranked Zhu defeated Wang for the second time in as many meetings to reach her first Tour-level final.

It's the fourth straight win for Zhu, which matches her career-best winning streak.

"I think she's playing really good; she had some good wins at the Australian Open," Tsurenko said of Zhu. "I think when I saw the draw I was like Lin Zhu is one of the dangerous people in this tournament.

"She's definitely playing good, it's going to be a good fight tomorrow. I'm super happy I'm in the final and I'm excited."

In the second semifinal, Andreescu served for the opening set at 5-4 but struggled to land her first serve. The 2019 US Open champion double-faulted back the break at love and Tsurenko backed up the break for 6-5.

The Canadian took a medical timeout for an apparent strained shoulder. Andreescu issued a thumbs-up toward her support box before rising to try to force the tiebreaker.

Dialed in from the baseline, Tsurenko continued to spread the court putting Andreescu in a triple-set point bind in the 12th game. When the Canadian flagged a forehand wide, Tsurenko scored her second straight love break to snatch a one-set lead after 73 minutes of play.

Sticky conditions made finishing points a challenge. Andreescu scattered 30 unforced errors compared to 18 for Tsurenko, who looked a bit fresher amid the evening humidity.

"I've lost all my power and my legs don't work," a frustrated Andreescu said after dropping her fifth straight game to start the second set.

Tsurenko increased the depth of her drives and carries a 4-1 record in WTA Finals into Sunday's final.


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