24 Jul 2013

Spotlight - Steven Diez - June 2013


By Nick Fishpool

Steven Diez (CAN)

June 2013


Steven Diez, 22, of Canada is our featured player for the month which saw him competing in three Spanish tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit and also making his Wimbledon debut.

Barcelona was the venue for the first of his three hard court Spanish tournaments played during the month and saw him named as the top seed.

This proved to be a rather incident free tournament for Diez as he cruised to the singles title, his first in 2013, without loss of a set and only twice conceding three or more games in a set.

Wins of 62 60 and 64 61 over opponents from India and France respectively took him into the quarterfinal and the first of three matches against Spanish opposition.

In the quarterfinal, Diez faced his second qualifier of the week and quickly saw off this challenge 61 61. Four games were then conceded in a 61 63 semifinal win to take him into his second singles final of the year.

The title match brought together the top two seeds and in this final, against Jose Checa-Calvo, he opened with a 61 first set win for the third match running and then allowed his opponent just two games in the second set to take the title.

Diez moved onto Martos for his next tournament and here he was to also compete in the doubles event, partnering with his brother and occasional Pro Circuit player Raymond.

The Diez brothers had previously only played once together before and that came back in February 2012 where the pair suffered a narrow first round defeat. This was repeated here as they were eliminated by another pair of brothers, Luis-Antonio and Sergio Perez-Perez, in two tiebreaks, 76(4) 76(2).

In the singles event, he was, like in Barcelona, named as the top seed and would start with a comfortable win over a qualifier in straight sets.

Two further wins of 62 60 and 62 64 followed and Diez once more found himself into a semifinal.

In the semifinal he faced Spaniard David Vega Hernandez and survived a first set scare before progressing to the final with a 76(6) 60 win.

The chance of a repeat of the Barcelona final was brought to an end with Checa-Calvo’s retirement when trailing 76(5) 5-0 to Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in the other semifinal.

The final was to be a very closely fought battle which would require the full three sets before a winner was proclaimed.

Diez took the opening set 75 before his Indian opponent took a second set tiebreaker 7-4 to level the match. The deciding third set was just as tense an affair as the first two sets but it was Diez who earned back-to-back singles title wins with a 64 win.

With two titles won, Diez then took a break from competing on the ITF Pro Circuit in Spain to travel to London, England where he was to make his Wimbledon debut in the qualifying event.

Diez had earlier this year made his Grand Slam debuts in the qualifying events at the Australian Open (reaching round two) and at Roland Garros (eliminated in round one). Diez won his opening round match but, as in Australia, he suffered a close defeat in round two.

His first taste of Wimbledon action over, Diez returned to Spain for one final ITF Pro Circuit tournament of the month. This tournament, in Palma Del Rio, saw him seeded fourth in singles and once more teaming with his brother in the doubles.

As in their previous tournaments together, the brothers lost out in a close first round match, this time 63 64 to the fourth seeds and eventual champions.

His final singles event of the month would also fail to return a trophy but he still enjoyed a good run before bowing out in the semifinal to Gerard Granollers-Pujol, who was seeded fifth and would go on to claim the title.

His tournament began with a 62 64 defeat of a Wild Card entrant before a run of two matches won to the combined loss of four games, 61 62 and 5-1 RET, set him up with the semifinal showdown with Granollers-Pujol won by the Spaniard in three sets 64 16 60.