Zarina Diyas’ comeback from a career-threatening wrist injury continues to gather pace after she collected the biggest title of her career – and her second ITF Pro Circuit title in as many months – at the $100k Aegon Manchester Trophy on Sunday 18 June.
The 23-year-old from Kazakhstan didn’t drop a set all week at The Northern Lawn Tennis Club in Didsbury, defeating Aleksandra Krunic 64 64 in the final to secure her seventh career ITF Pro Circuit crown and just her second title on grass.
“It was a tough week but I was playing really good,” said Diyas. “I like to play on grass and I like to play here in Manchester, the crowd was amazing so I am really happy.”
Diyas was sidelined from the game for seven months after falling in the first round at 2016 Wimbledon and endured a tough return to the sport earlier this year, losing her opening matches at four consecutive tournaments in Asia through February and March.
Diyas turned the tide by winning the $25,000 women’s circuit event in Nanjing in April and earned another morale-boosting result in China by finishing runner-up at the $100,000+H event in Anning at the end of April.
Though she failed to qualify for Roland Garros – falling to eventual women’s doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final round of qualifying – Diyas has high hopes for Wimbledon, where she has enjoyed her greatest career successes.
She reached the round of 16 at the All England Club in both 2014 and 2015, failing to Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova, respectively.
“I am going to Wimbledon [this year], I really love to play there, I am really looking forward to it,” Diyas enthused.
Krunic, meanwhile, remained upbeat, despite missing out on her first grass court title just a week after winning the WTA $125k Series title on clay in Bol, Croatia.
“It is always tough and disappointing to lose in the final, but, if my coach were to tell me that I am going to be in the final this week, I was going to grab it,” she said.
“I am very happy with my performance. Coming here from clay has been a very challenging task for me, but I think I managed to do that pretty well, so I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks playing on grass.”
First-time pairing Magdalena Frech and An-Sophie Mestach won the doubles title, after the Polish-Belgian pair defeated Chinese Taipei’s Kai-Chen Chang and New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 64 76(5).
“It is amazing,” said Frech. “I never expected that we would be in the final let alone win [the tournament]. That is the big thing for me and I am so happy right now.”
“It was a good week, we enjoyed it,” Mestach added. “It was lovely weather today as well which is very nice. It was a good tournament so we are very happy.”