Zarina Diyas vs. Samantha Stosur, Nottingham R1 Preview

?? Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R1 Preview
?? (7) Zarina Diyas vs. ?? (wc) Samantha Stosur

An interesting opening round clash in Nottingham sees the 7th seeded Zarina Diyas come up against Sam Stosur. The Aussie took a late wild card into the event after her ranking recently plummeted to outside the top 100 for the first time in almost a decade. The grass court season has not typically been a time for Stosur to thrive but she will be desperate to gain as many points as she can over the next month.

Interestingly Diyas and Stosur had fairly similar results during the clay court season. Diyas would be reasonably pleased with her recent results whilst Stosur would be disappointed given clay is easily her best surface. Heading into the grass court swing it is Diyas who would have the higher expectations. Diyas has the perfect game for a quick surface and will be confident heading into Nottingham.

It was Stosur who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-6 6-3 win in the Final in Osaka back in 2014.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Zarina Diyas vs Venus Williams, Cincinnati R1 Preview

Cincinnati R1: Zarina Diyas vs Venus Williams

Zarina Diyas and Venus Williams will both be searching for their first victories during the U.S Open series when they go head to head in the first round at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Zarina Diyas has suffered two disappointing first up losses in the last couple of weeks. The Kazakh was forced to retire due to a wrist injury a set down against Lauren Davis. Diyas then suffered a first round exit in Toronto, defeated by Julia Goerges in a tight third set.

 

Venus Williams also arrives in Cincinnati desperate to find some form before New York. The American hasn’t won a match since Wimbledon, suffering first round losses in Istanbul and Toronto. A lacklustre Venus Williams was thrashed by Sabine Lisicki in the first round at the Rogers Cup last week, a disappointing 0-6 3-6 loss for the American.

This will be the first career meeting between Venus and Zarina. The American should be too strong for Diyas, Venus will be able to attack the Kazakh’s vulnerable serve and should be too powerful from the baseline. Diyas will need Venus to play a poor match if she is to have a real chance.

Prediction: Venus Williams to defeat Zarina Diyas in 2 sets

Maria Sharapova vs Zarina Diyas, Wimbledon R4 Preview

Wimbledon R4: (4) Maria Sharapova vs Zarina Diyas

Maria Sharapova has quietly made her way through to the fourth round. The Russian has made the most of a soft draw, clinically dismissing her first three opponents.

Maria’s soft draw continues in the fourth round, the fourth seed comes up against the unseeded Zarina Diyas, an opponent she breezed past at the Australian Open in January.

 

Maria Sharapova has barely raised a sweat in her opening three matches at the All England Club, Sharapova has recorded comfortable straight set victories over Johanna Konta, Richel Hogenkamp and Irina-Camelia Begu. Maria hasn’t looked like dropping a set.

Sharapova has been given the dream run into the quarter-finals, it doesn’t get much easier than the draw she has been given. Maria is too professional to let an opportunity like this slip by, Maria is now well poised to make a real challenge for the title, for the first time since 2011.

 

Zarina Diyas is through to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second straight year. The unseeded Kazakhs route to the fourth round hasn’t been easy. Zarina has already knocked out two seeded opponents, defeating Flavia Pennetta in three tight sets in the opening round before advancing to the second week with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Andrea Petkovic on Friday.

Zarina is yet to record a big win on a big stage. The Kazakh has been humbled on the big stage a couple of time, she gets a chance at redemption on Monday when she comes up against Sharapova, the world will be watching.

 

In their only previous encounter, Maria Sharapova crushed Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 in the third round at the Australian Open earlier this year. Zarina seemed a little intimidated in that match, the rising star should be better prepared for the challenge this time around.

This isn’t a good match-up for Diyas, Sharapova is simply too powerful for the 21-year-old. Diyas hasn’t fared well against the best, Diyas was also thumped by Serena Williams earlier this year at Indian Wells. This should be a little more competitive than their last match, but it’s very hard to see Maria dropping a set. Diyas doesn’t the weapons to hurt Maria.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Zarina Diyas in 2 sets

Serena Williams vs Zarina Diyas, Indian Wells R3 Preview

Indian Wells R3: (1) Serena Williams vs (28) Zarina Diyas

Serena Williams’ Indian Wells comeback continues on Sunday afternoon when she will come up against Kazakh, Zarina Diyas in the third round. Serena made history on Friday night by returning to the Californian desert for the first time in 14 years. The world number 1 made an understandably nervy start to her campaign and will want a much stronger performance against Zarina on Monday.

 

Serena was welcomed back to Stadium 1 with a standing ovation from the near capacity crowd, a historic moment in the history of the WTA. Serena was far from her best but managed to overcome Monica Niculescu 7-5 7-5. Serena made a slow start and struggled to find any rhythm in her first match in over a month and her first career meeting with the most unorthodox player on tour.

Serena’s footwork was pretty poor throughout the match, her decision making was also questionable. Despite just hitting 1 winner (a slice forehand) Niculescu served for the first set at 5-4 and was extremely close to closing it out. However Serena did what she had to do, raising her level when it really mattered to ensure she closed out the match in straight sets.

Zarina Diyas also overcame a slow start to advance to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open. Diyas found herself down a double break in the opening set but regrouped to defeat Donna Vekic 6-3 6-3. Diyas is a solid youngster who continues to rise up the rankings, however she hasn’t fared well against the worlds very best.

Zarina has really struggled against top 10 opponents, suffering straight set losses to Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Ekaterina Makarova in the past 12 months. The next step for Zarina will be to start competing better with these high quality opponents, otherwise her ranking will plateau.

 

This will be the first career meeting between Serena and Zarina. Serena will need to raise her level after a very unconvincing performance on Saturday night. Zarina Diyas is hungry for a big scalp and is the type of player that will make an opponent pay if they are off their game.

However this match will all be about Serena. The world number 1 should be less nervous coming into this match and should play much better tennis. A comprehensive straight set victory is likely.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Zarina Diyas in 2 sets

Zarina Diyas vs Maria Sharapova, Australian Open R3 Preview

(31) Zarina Diyas vs (2) Maria Sharapova

After surviving an almighty scare in her second round Victory over Alexandra Panova, Maria Sharapova faces Zarina Diyas in the third round.

After winning the first set 6-1 over Alexandra Panova, Sharapova looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory on Rod Laver Arena. However Panova started to play ridiculously well to push a wayward Sharapova to her limits. The second seed was forced to save two match points as she eventually scraped through 7-5 in the third.

At 5-4 with Panova serving for the match, Maria came up with some outrageous winners, painting the lines to deny Panova a famous upset victory.

 

Zarina Diyas was also forced to work extremely hard for her second round victory on Wednesday. The Kazakh came from a set down to defeat Anna Schmiedlova 3-6 6-2 8-6. It was a gutsy performance in extremely tough conditions, Diyas was in trouble numerous times during the final set but eventually pulled through to set up a clash with Sharapova.

 

This will be the first career meeting between Maria and the Kazakh rising star. On paper this looks like a straightforward victory for Maria, however her performance on Wednesday showed that she is indeed vulnerable.

Sharapova should have too much power and experience for Diyas on this occasion. Diyas hasn’t played many big matches like this, in fact this could well be the biggest match of her young career. A big opportunity for Zarina to show the world what she’s got.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Zarina Diyas in straight sets

Zarina Diyas vs Urszula Radwanska, Australian Open R1 Preview

(31) Zarina Diyas vs (Q) Urszula Radwanska

In one of Mondays most intriguing first round matches, rising star Zarina Diyas will face a rejuvenated Urszula Radwanska out on court 7.

After an extremely difficult and frustrating season in 20114, Ula will be looking forward to a much brighter season in 2015. Early signs have been good, Ula progressed through qualies to reach the quarter-finals in Auckland, defeating Hantuchova and Schiavone on route to the final 8.

Ula started her Australian Open Qualifying campaign with two comprehensive straight set victories however she was made to work extremely hard for her final round victory. Ula survived an early scare to defeat Hiroko Kuwata 2-6 6-1 7-5. Ula struggled with the gusty conditions in the opening set but as the match went on she got better and better, as did the conditions.

 

Zarina Diyas will be seeded for the first time at Grand Slam this year Melbourne. The Kazakh has made a mediocre start to the season, suffering disappointing quarter-final losses to Alison Riske and Saisai Zheng in Auckland and Shenzhen.

After a breakthrough 2014 season, it will be interesting to see how Diyas performs in 2015. Given Zarina is seeded in Melbourne for the first time there will be pressure on her to perform and at least reach the third round. It’s hard to know how she will deal with this extra pressure and expectations.

 

Ula won the only previous meeting between these two, a straight set victory in Rome last season.

This is an extremely difficult match to call, I’m leaning towards Ula. The Pole has played a lot of matches in the last few weeks and will be used to conditions at Melbourne Park having come through qualies.

Prediction: Urszula Radwanska to defeat Zarina Diyas in three sets