HUA HIN, Thailand – No.5 seed Magda Linette booked her place in the final of the GSB Thailand Open presented by E@ with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Patricia Maria Tig.
Having reached the semifinals of the tournament in its inaugural year in 2019, the WTA World No.42 will go at least one better this time around, having sealed a one-hour 36-minute victory over Tig in their first meeting on the WTA Tour.
The first set could have gone either way but Linette was the dominant player in the second as the WTA World No.105 went for broke.
“At the beginning, I was playing a little bit too slow. I gave her too much space to her to dictate the tempo. I made a couple of easy mistakes. My coach told me that I needed to hit harder. At first I made some mistakes but in the end it was worth it and I played a great game,” Linette said.
A love hold in the opening game of the match was an encouraging start for the Pole, who also threatened to break in Tig’s first service game.
Linette did indeed claim the opening break, but the Romanian, who made eight double faults as she toiled on serve throughout, showed fighting spirit to move 5-4 clear as the level of her opponent briefly dipped.
After that wayward period, the 28-year-old discovered her best form, stringing together three winners as Tig served for the set to level up at 5-5.
Both players hit a purple patch at this stage, though it was Linette who was better able to harness it, holding after being forced to deuce then sealing the set when she put away an awkward high ball.
The second set proved to be a good deal quicker than the first, with the rallies shorter as Tig adopted a more aggressive approach.
While this won the 25-year-old some cheap points, it also wrought a high unforced error count and Linette was exerting pressure from her from the beginning of the set. This told in the sixth game as some wild striking from Tig resulted in the first break of the second.
The high-risk approach, however, paid off as Linette served for the match. She was unable to get into the game, which slipped away to love amid a flurry of big hitting.
But it proved only a temporary reprieve for Tig as Linette secured the match and a third-straight victory in a WTA Tour semifinal with a break in the following game.
On Sunday, she will chase a second WTA title, having won in the Bronx last year. Leonie Kung stands in her way, but Linette is feeling fresh and good about a run she admits was unexpected.
“Coming here, I didn’t expect it. I didn’t have much time to get used to the outdoors after the Fed Cup. Maybe I put a bit less pressure on myself than usual, so I’m happy,” she said.
“I’m surprised. I’m feeling really well. I’ve played so much. Big shout out to my coach, my fitness coach and my physio. I’m recovering really well, and out on court I’m still fresh. I’m surprised coming from Europe, where it was zero degrees.”