Wimbledon 2014: Zarina Diyas finds her form to fly flag for Kazakhstan
Saturday 28 June 2014
Zarina Diyas has an unusual claim to fame, being the only tennis player who plays under the Kazakhstan flag who is a Kazakh by birth.
The central Asian republic’s tennis federation has developed the sport greatly in recent years, building an infrastructure almost from scratch. Controversially, though, their growing reputation in both Fed Cup and Davis Cup has come by importing Russian players willing to change their nationality to receive generous financial and coaching support. Diyas is the only homegrown member of her country’s Fed Cup team.
Diyas, 20 and born in Almaty, despatched the 15th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round and beat Vera Zvonareva in the third round 7-6 6-3 3-6.
Zvonareva, 29, has been out of the game for 18 months after surgery on her right shoulder and having been laid low by a virus, but as a three-time finalist in singles and doubles the All England Club gave her a wild card. She rewarded that gesture by beating Britain’s Tara Moore and then the Croatian Donna Vekic in straight sets.
Today’s match on Court 18 wasn’t pretty tennis, but it improved as the match went on. A long break for rain did not help as the players exchanged three breaks in the first set, with Zvonareva playing a more tactically intelligent game. The Russian served for the first set at 5-4 but Diyas saved three sets points and went on to win a tiebreak 7-1.
The players continued to exchange breaks in the opening games of the second set but with a greater variety of shots Zvonareva took it 6-3.
The final set produced wonderful play with long rallies, and the Kazakh began to play more tactically, pushing the Russian out wide. She won the seventh game after six deuces and then broke the Russian to take control. A loose return into the net gave Diyas the only match point she needed to earn a match against Simona Halep.
Cristiano Ronaldo could return against Manchester United - but it won't be like previous reunions
Calum Chambers joins Arsenal: New £16m signing put through Arsenal initiation as he sings The Kooks in front of team-mates
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Daley Blind and Thomas Vermaelen on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Seydou Keita refuses Pepe handshake before throwing water bottle prior to Roma vs Real Madrid match
New Liverpool signing Dejan Lovren forced to train with the under-21s after US visa mix-up
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'