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Azarenka vs Diyas WTA Monterrey live streaming, preview and tips - Azarenka sets sights on second quarter-final in Mexico this season

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 4 Apr 2019
  • Victoria Azarenka vs Zarina Diyas is live from Monterrey around 4.30pm local time on Thursday (11.30pm BST)
  • Azarenka won their only previous match in straight sets at Indian Wells in 2016
Victoria Azarenka (PA Images)

Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka aims for her second quarter-final in Mexico this season when she faces Zarina Diyas in the second round of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey on Thursday.

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Two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka continues her quest for a first in three years when she takes on Zarina Diyas for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey on Thursday.

Making her debut in Monterrey this week after reaching the quarter-finals in Acapulco in February, Azarenka got off to a winning start against unknown 514th-ranked qualifier Miyu Kato, defeating the Japanese player by a 6-4 6-2 scoreline. It’s always tough to play against a player you’ve never heard of before in conditions you’ve never competed in, but Azarenka got better as the match went on, and after a bit of a battle in the opener, stormed through the second and completed what was ultimately a comfortable victory.

"I think the first match is never easy, to play against an opponent that you don’t know, and I hadn’t had enough time to adapt to the conditions yet," Azarenka said. "Hopefully it will warm up a little bit."

Azarenka is still trying to find her consistent best tennis since returning to the tour after giving birth to her first child and the subsequent messy custody battle with her ex-partner that followed. Finally allowed to return to the tour full-time with her son last year, Azarenka started with a bang as she made the Miami Open semi-finals, but that would be her biggest moment of what was a pretty underwhelming season as she made just two more quarter-finals and finished the year outside the top 50.

Down to No. 67 coming into Monterrey, Azarenka has only won back-to-back matches at one out of her six tournaments so far in 2019 - although, she did showcase just what she’s capable of in a stellar match with Serena Williams in the second round of Indian Wells last month, going down in what will probably be the highest-quality straight sets contest of the season. Azarenka proved she can still play at the highest of levels in that match, but the challenge for her is to find the motivation and drive to replicate that level during matches of less significance. For a player who has won Grand Slams and been ranked No. 1, along with what she’s been through off the court, a mere tennis match against lower-ranked players doesn’t seem as important as it once did.

But these are the matches Azarenka needs to win if she wants to emulate fellow mother Serena and make it back towards the top of the rankings and challenge for the sport’s biggest prizes again. Can she make the Monterrey quarter-finals on Thursday?


Ranked as high as No. 31 in early 2015 after reaching her first WTA final in Osaka in 2014 and making the Round of 16 at Wimbledon, Zarina Diyas hasn’t been able to really come close to eclipsing that mark due to a combination of poor form and lengthy injury setbacks over the last few years. Diyas missed the second half of 2016 and the start of 2017 after undergoing wrist surgery, with her ranking plummeting to No. 146 as a result, and although she made her way back into the top 100 in 2017 and remained there throughout 2018 (hitting a peak of No. 45 in June after making the fourth round of Miami and quarter-finals in Shenzhen and Strasbourg), she finished last year at No. 91 and has since tumbled to No. 107 after a slow start to 2019.

Indeed, Diyas hadn’t won a tour-level match before Monterrey, losing in the first round of Shenzhen, the Australian Open, Dubai and Indian Wells, while she failed to qualify for Sydney and Miami, with her only positive result coming at the 125k Indian Wells tournament when she made the semi-finals, losing to Jennifer Brady. The 25-year-old has however gotten off the mark in Monterrey for her first WTA win of 2019, beating local wildcard Renata Zarazua in straight sets to earn a shot at Azarenka on Thursday.

Azarenka won their only previous encounter in Indian Wells in 2016, and the former No. 1 should be able to repeat that effort in Monterrey. Diyas is a good competitor and makes her opponents work to win points, but she doesn’t really possess that explosive power or the consistency when she does start being aggressive to trouble the best players in the world. Azarenka isn’t amongst that elite group at the moment, but Diyas has struggled all season long and doesn’t appear ready for a scalp this big. Expect the two-time major champion to battle her way into the quarter-finals.


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Azarenka vs Diyas WTA Monterrey live streaming, preview and tips - Azarenka sets sights on second quarter-final in Mexico this season

Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka aims for her second quarter-final in Mexico this season when she faces Zarina Diyas in the second round of the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey on Thursday.

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