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Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas aims to enter Top 20

Zarina Diyas. ©REUTERS Zarina Diyas. ©REUTERS

Kazakstan’s No. 1 tennis player Zarina Diyas plans to enter the Top 20 of the WTA rating in 2015, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz.

Recently, Diyas managed to advance into the third round of the Australian Open, where she faced World No. 2 Maria Sharapova from Russia. Although the Kazakh tennis player lost to Sharapova, she was still able to maintain her position in the rating and gain a huge experience of playing against strong opponent.

"I thought it would be great to play with Sharapova! It is not every day that one gets a chance to face top tennis players. And this is a huge experience for the future,” Diyas told Vesti.kz.

“Unfortunately, I did not show my best tennis against Sharapova. She played amazing. I also loved Rod Lever court and its unforgettable atmosphere. I received lots of messages from my Kazakhstani fans and I want to thank them all for the support,” Diyas said.

Besides, Diyas was seeded 31st in singles at the 2015 Australian Open. "This is a special status and it gives confidence," she said.

Before facing Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open, Dyas beat qualifier Urszula Radwanska from Poland in three sets in the first round and then unseeded Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the second round in three sets.

Speaking about the game with Radwanska, she said it was a tough game. "It was very windy, and in the beginning I was making mistakes often. I could not get into the game. Radwanska moved well around the court and almost with no mistakes in the first set. But at the end of the second set, I was able to pull myself together and change the course of the match," Diyas shared her impression about the match with the tennis player from Poland.

The second round with Schmiedlova also turned out to be quite difficult for the Kazakh tennis player, and the third set was the crucial one. "Shmiedlova was playing great. Everything was decided at the end of the third set, and there I was psychologically more stable than my opponent. This helped me clinch the victory," Zarina Diyas sharer.

Currently, Diyas maintains the 131st line in the doubles ranking, with her best doubles ranking being the 118th position that she reached on September 8, 2014.

She also spoke about her future tournaments. 21-year-old WTA Rising Star from Kazakhstan is participating in the Federation Cup to be held in China in early February, as a part of Kazakhstan’s national team. This year, she will also play in Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, and probably in Strasbourg before she appears at Rolland Garros (the French Open) in May's end.

Last year, Diyas set a goal to enter the Top 30 of the WTA ranking and she almost did that. As for the coming season, she wants to get into the Top-20.

Overall, 2014 was a breakthrough season for Diyas. She made her season debut in Hong Kong, reaching the final of the ITF tournament, but losing to Elizaveta Kulichkova from Russia, who then became the winner of the tournament in the singles. Diyas proceeded to enter Australian Open qualifying, winning over Russian-born Serbian Aleksandra Krunic in the first round. By defeating Romanian Andreea Mitu, she then got to the finals, where she beat Canadian Stephanie Dubois.

This resulted in her first Grand Slam entry. In the first round of the main draw, she beat fellow qualifier Katerina Siniakova. In the second round, she defeated Marina Erakovic from New Zealand to book her place in the third round. Diyas' run was ended there; however, as she went down to World No. 11 Simona Halep in straight sets. Following the Australian Open, Diyas lost qualifying matches in Pattaya City and Doha. She bounced back quickly, though, as she then easily won a 50K ITF event in Quanzhou.

She then traveled to the United States to compete in the Miami, qualifying for the main draw and winning Romanian Alexandra Cadanțu before losing to Sloane Stephens from the United States in the second round. Although she failed to qualify for the Family Circle Cup, she played at the Malaysian Open and advanced to the quarterfinals – her first WTA quarterfinal since the 2010 Kremlin Cup.

Diyas then went to Europe but lost early in the first two tournaments contested. At the French Open warm-up event in Strasbourg; however, she returned to form with a win over World No. 22 Kirsten Flipkens in the first round. She followed it up by dispatching Ajla Tomljanovic before having to retire in her quarterfinal match.

While holding a world ranking of No. 86, Diyas was granted a spot in the main draw of the French Open, but got a tough draw and was knocked out by Petra Kvitova in the first round. At the ITF grass court tournament in Nottingham, she advanced to the final but was narrowly beaten by Kristyna Pliskova.

She got her first ever win at Wimbledon by defeating French Kristina Mladenovic, then winning 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro and former World No. 2 and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva, before losing in straight sets to Romanian Simona Halep (current World No.3) in the fourth round.

In August 2014, in her best result at the US Open, unseeded Diyas advanced to the women's singles third round where she lost to Yekaterina Makarova from Russia, earning $105,090.

In October 2014, Diyas reached her first WTA final at the tournament in 2014 Japan Women's Open where she lost to World No.18 and defending champion Samantha Stosur from Australia.

By Assel Satubaldina


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