Shenzhen Open, Quarter-Final Preview
🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs 🇰🇿 Zarina Diyas
Maria Sharapova continues her Shenzhen Open campaign on Thursday where she takes on Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas. Sharapova and Diyas both advanced to the final 8 in Shenzhen with hard-fought 3 set victories on Tuesday. Sharapova will be confident heading into this match having comfortably beaten Diyas in their 2 previous meeting. However, Diyas will feel she has a better chance this time around given her good form on hard courts.
Maria Sharapova is enjoying her first trip to Shenzhen. The crowd support for Sharapova in her first two matches has been wild, an environment the Russian certainly thrives in. Sharapova started her 2018 season with a 6-3 6-0 victory against Mihaela Buzarnescu before fighting from a set down to defeat Alison Riske 4-6 6-3 6-2. Sharapova has been quite erratic in her first couple of matches in Shenzhen but her fighting qualities have ensure she has gotten out of some sticky situations unscathed. Sharapova will be hoping to keep improving as the tournament reaches the business end.
Zarina Diyas caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament thus far when she eliminated the 3rd seeded Shuai Zhang to advance to the quarter-finals in Shenzhen. Diyas had a chance to close out her second round match with Zhang in straight sets but was pushed to a decider where she regrouped and come out on top in a high quality contest, a 6-3 6-7 6-4 victor. Prior to that win, Diyas started her season with a 6-3 6-4 win over Pauline Parmentier.
Sharapova has a perfect 2-0 record over Diyas. Both of their previous matches were in 2015, both ended in straight set victories for Sharapova. 6-1 6-1 at the Australian Open and 6-4 6-4 at Wimbledon. I believe Diyas will enter this match with a better chance of claiming victory than their prior meetings, can the in-form Kazakh cause a big upset in Shenzhen?