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.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food