Sixth seed Zhang Shuai of China will face Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round of the 2021 Birmingham Open on Tuesday, June 15. Get the live streaming options of this Zhang Shuai v Vitalia Diatchenko match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Zhang Shuai v Vitalia Diatchenko Head to Head
They are 1-1 from their previous two meetings. Diatchenko won in Estoril in 2010 and Zhang won in Honolulu in 2017.
Zhang Ends Ordinary Run In Nottingham
After a dismal 1-9 start to the season, World No. 36 Zhang Shuai of China finally got going on grass, reaching the final of the Nottingham Open last week, before falling to Johanna Konta in straight sets.
It was Zhang’s fourth career final. She win two titles in Guangzhou in 2013 and 2017 and finished runner-up to Elena Rybakina in Hobart last year.
The World No. 36 began her Nottingham challenge with straight sets wins over Arina Rodionova and Zarina Diyas in the first two rounds and then edged past Kristina Mladenovic in a tight three-setter in the quarterfinal. She reached the final after another straight sets victory, over Lauren Davis.
Earlier the 32-year-old had won just one match in 2021 and that win came against Misaki Doi of Japan in Strasbourg. She did not even win a set in her first six matches as she made first-round exits from Melbourne, Miami, Charleston, Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome. She finally won a set in Bogota but went down to Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in three.
The win over Doi may have given her some confidence, but she once again lost back-to-back matches in straight sets, which included a first-round exit from Roland Garros after a loss to Varvara Lepchenko.
A two-time major quarterfinalist, Zhang reached the last eight at Wimbledon in 2019. Having got off to a flying start on grass this year she will be hoping to build on that and attempt another deep run in the third major of the year.
Diatchenko Into Her First Main Draw in 2021
Facing Zhang will be Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko, who made it to the main draw through the qualifiers.
The World No. 152 battled past American Katie Volynets 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in the first qualifying round on Saturday. She was more in command in the second qualifying round on Sunday as she beat Britain’s Niaktha Bains 7-6, 6-3.
The 30-year-old Russian, who has won a doubles title on the tour and two singles WTA 125K titles, reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2018, which still remains her best-ever Grand Slam showing.
Diatchenko hasn’t won a main draw match over the last two years. She lost nine of them in 2019 and 2020 combined. In 2021, she featured in just three matches prior to the qualifiers in Birmingham, losing all three of them, two of which were at the ITF level and one a French Open qualifier which she lost to Ellen Perez of Australia.
Shuai v Diatchenko Prediction and Tip
Having struck form in Nottingham, Zhang will look to start well in Birmingham. Expect an easy straight sets win for the sixth seed Chinese player.