Serena Williams a will be making her return to the WTA tour in Indian Wells. Serena will start off against Zarina Diyas; is she in danger of an upset? Read on for a preview of the first round match…
Indian Wells Round One
Serena Williams vs Zarina Diyas (No.54)
Serena Williams is set to return to the WTA tour in Indian Wells this week. This is her first WTA singles match since the 2017 Australian Open; before this though she had played three exhibitions: the Abu Dhabi Championship (losing to Jelena Ostapenko), Fed Cup (losing with sister Venus in doubles), and the Tie Break Tens, where she won against Marion Bartoli before falling to Zhang Shuai. Williams’ level has been improving match and match and during yesterday’s TBT, her serve looked greattt and her footwork was widely improved from Fed Cup action as well. She’s definitely ready for this match and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she wins a couple of matches this week.
Since returning to the tour in February 2017 after injuries, Diyas has been slowly climbing up the rankings with a couple of strong ITF performances, climbing from No.174 up to her current ranking of No.54. Other than claiming a couple of ITF titles in Nanning and Manchester, Diyas claimed her maiden WTA title as a qualifier at the Tokyo International, beating the likes of Zhang Shuai and Yulia Putintseva enroute. Diyas has solely been playing WTA events this year and has compiled a neat 5-4 win-loss record, with a quarterfinal appearance in Shenzhen her best thus far.
Head to head: Serena leads the head to head 2-0, and they met most recently at the Miami Open in 2016 where Williams edged a tight two-setter, 7-5 6-3.
Thoughts: Serena will definitely be rusty heading into the match but from the standard we saw at the Tie Break Tens, I believe Serena will be able to show off her champion spirit and edge this in a tight two-setter once more. Diyas has weapons, but coming back to the WTA circuit again will definitely give Serena a huge motivation boost and she will use that and the home support to her advantage.
Final Prediction: Serena Williams d. Zarina Diyas in two sets
Check out Serena and other top players’ draws in this detailed Indian Wells tournament preview!
Indian Wells predictions will be out on the blog very soon! Thank you for reading!