(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