'Arms like a cartoon superhero!' Serena opponent Diatchenko's bulging biceps cause stir Down Under
Despite being ranked 73 places behind her opponent, Diatchenko managed to snatch the first set against Williams 6-2 on Philippe-Chatrier, which led many to believe the 23-time Grand Slam champion was ill-prepared for the match, seemingly confirming pre-tournament rumors.Also on rt.com Meet Vitalia Diatchenko - 5 things you need to know about Serena Williams' French Open opponent
However, after her initial first set wobble, Serena regrouped to claim the next two sets, while dropping just one game, 6-1, 6-0, to advance and claim her first win in her new 'zebra' design outfit specially designed by Nike for Roland Garros.
After the match, talk was centered not on Serena's choice of attire, but rather the impressive muscle mass of her Russian opponent. A host of Australian outlets featured an article that went as far as to liken the world number 83 to "a cartoon superhero".
Twenty-eight-year-old Diatchenko was compared favorably to Australian US Open winner Sam Stosur, the current world number 96, who is known herself for her hulking muscles during play.
The article praised Diatchenko for "putting the time in at the gym" despite her loss and modest career showing in professional tennis, and the Moscow resident also won plaudits online, with some complimenting her courage, looks, outfit, and even making comparisons with Russian tennis great Maria Sharapova.
Regardless of the result, when you remember how the last match she played against Serena at a Grand Slam unfolded, this has to feel great for Vitalia Diatchenko.— Victoria Chiesa (@vrcsports) May 27, 2019
After the match, Williams, who has been troubled by a left knee problem which had confined her to a wheelchair during a recent trip to Disneyland with her daughter, blamed "nerves" on her sluggish start in France.
“I just got nervous out there and I stopped moving my feet," she said. “And it was like concrete blocks on my feet. I was, like, ‘You’ve got to do something’.
“I was just making so many errors. Every shot I hit, I felt like I was hitting on my frame. I usually don’t hit balls on my frame. I was just off, basically, and then instead of correcting it, I just kept getting worse."