Switzerland’s 19-year-old qualifier Leonie Kung made it to the final of the Thailand Open with her third upset in the event. In her semi-final against eighth seed Nao Hibino of Japan on Saturday, the 283rd ranked teenager won 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes.
This is Kung’s first WTA final in her only second appearance in the main draw of a WTA Tour tournament. Earlier, in the preceding stages of the tournament, Kung had knocked out Chinese players – seventh seed Lin Zhu in the second round, and third seed Qiang Wang in the quarter-finals.
Hibino, who had made it to the semi-final courtesy of her takedown of top-seed Elina Svitolina in their quarter-final match stayed on with her opponent until the end but was no match for the relentlessness of her younger challenger.
In the final, Kung will play fifth seed Magda Linette from Poland. Linette defeated Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in the first semi-final 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes. If Linette wins the title, it will be her second WTA career title.
Speaking about her tactics, Linette noted after the match, “I started a little bit too slow and gave her too much of the initiative. My coach told me to hit it harder and he was right. I started dictating the match, although I made a few more mistakes”.
Linette will rise to a new career-high of no. 37 in the WTA ranking on Monday, 17th February while Kung will move closer to breaking into the top-150, at the 155th spot. Photo Credit: Thailand Open Twitter