After winning her qualifying round at the current Connecticut Open, Zarina Diyas was given Maria Sakkari as her first round opponent. The Greek young woman has had a continuous rise in abilities and ranking with wins over Japan's Naomi Osaka at the Western and Southern event in Cincinnati, winning over Timea Babos, veteran Venus Williams and upcomign rising player Danielle Collins at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in California.
Diyas was putting on a good performance on the 31 ranked Greek as she was able to aggressively keep her back with baseline strokes and soon Sakkari who performed 'A-1' on previous matches, was easy to be manipulated by Diyas creating many unforced errors.
It would be difficult to imagine that Diyas was playing with such superior techniques from what she had endured throughout her career with wrist surgery. She had returned on tour from rehabiliation and then was injured into the 3rd game of the grass season at Nottingham.
She suffered a left knee injury at the English match and had to retire from her opposition with Samantha Stosur. Zarina Diyas is doing well and the last tournament, the Western and Southern in Cincinnati was her first event back from her knee injury.
"Cincinnati was my first tournament...I'm trying to give my 10% at every match", she had explained. But at the Connecticut Open she had given it her all to Sakkari, a tough player with blasting forehands. Diyas lead 3-0 with Sakkari coming back ever strong painting the lines and powerful volleys in the open court, but Diyas was alert and with a few more games won the first set 6-4.
The second set the Kazakhstani played just as consistent and superb blasting aces which Sakkari hadn't been able to return. The Greek appeared to eventually perform sluggishly as Diyas had more heated up shots to seal the second and deciding set 6-3.
After the ace to Sakkari which she just couldn't handle, Diyas raised her racket to the crowd thanking them for their support. She said to the on-court interviewer that "I had some really tough 3 matches...I feel good".
If Zarina Diyas continues her great performances here at the Connecticut Open, she may capture great success on going deep in this tournament and who knows may win her 2nd title of her career.