Meet Vitalia Diatchenko - 5 things you need to know about Serena Williams' French Open opponent
Serena Williams has already made headlines with her eclectic taste of outfit before her Roland Garros 2019 campaign has gotten underway, but what do we know about her Russian 1st round opponent Vitalia Diatchenko?
Serena on Monday announced she will be wearing an unconventional zebra-stripe, long skirt outfit design, after causing a stir with her body-hugging catsuit playing attire from last year, which naturally drew criticism from some sections of the tennis world, including French Open organizers.
In the Round of 128, Serena will open her French Open account against little-known Moscow-based player Vitalia Diatchenko. Here, RT Sport gives you 5 things you need to know about
She's ranked 83 in the world
Diatchenko's highest placing in the WTA rankings is 71, a whole seventy places behind Williams' highest rating. Diatchenko is currently ranked just two places lower, at number 83, making the difference between the two only a slightly shorter jump of 73 ranking places from Serena Williams's 10th place.
She has won just 1 WTA singles title
Diatchenko won her maiden and to date only WTA singles tile at the Tashkent Open in 2011, beating Greek player Eleni Daniilidou in the final 6-4, 6-3. The 28-year-old has however won 14 International Tennis Federation (ITF) titles. By contrast, Serena has won a total 72 career titles in her career, including 23 singles Grand Slam titles and 39 overall.
She supports French football team AS Monaco
Despite hailing from Russia, Diatchenko is a fan of Ligue 1 outfit Monaco, who were once managed by Les Bleus legend Thierry Henry, and has visited matches to cheer on the team. The team didn't have the best season last year, narrowly avoiding relegation by finishing 17th out of 20 in the league.
She's a fan of Formula 1
Diatchenko comes from the Southern Russian resort city of Sochi, located near the Black Sea. The city is synonymous with sport, having been the host for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and having been a host venue for the Russia 2018 World Cup.
The city also welcomes the Russian Grand Prix every year at the Sochi Autodrom, where Diatchenko has been spotted taking in a spot of motorsport in her home town.
She has a recent win over Maria Sharapova
Russia's best-known tennis player and former world number one Sharapova was sent crashing out of Wimbledon 2018 by compatriot Diatchenko, who advanced to the third round of the tournament overall before being knocked out by Jelena Ostapenko.
Could another upset be on the cards for Diatchenko against he world's best-known player? Time will tell at Roland Garros.Also on rt.com Catsuit out, zebra print in: Will Serena Williams' outfit shock at Roland Garros again?