Date: 13 January 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021 qualifiers
Round: Final round
Venue: Dubai, UAE
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Margarita Gasparyan preview
Tsvetana Pironkova had to do some serious problem-solving during her second round match of the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers.
Having won the first set without the loss of a single game, Pironkova missed some big opportunities during the second set. She managed to close out the match in three, but will be hoping for a more consistent performance in the final round.
Awaiting her in the last stage is another former top 50 player in the form of 14th seed Margarita Gasparyan. A two-time WTA titlist, Gasparyan can be a serious threat - especially on hardcourt.
The 26-year-old already has a fourth round appearance (her best at any of the four Majors) in Melbourne Park to her name, having made it to the stage back in 2016. That history, added with her impressive wins in the last couple of matches, would have inspired a lot of self-confidence in Gasparyan ahead of the deciding match.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Margarita Gasparyan head-to-head
Tsvetana Pironkova leads Margarita Gasparyan 1-0 in their head-to-head record. Their only meeting came on the hardcourts of Istanbul in 2015, with the Bulgarian managing a hard-fought three-set win.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Margarita Gasparyan prediction
Both Tsvetana Pironkova and Margarita Gasparyan have scored some good wins this week in Dubai, and would be feeling good about their game.
Pironkova, who steamrolled through her first match, was faced with some tough questions in her second. The Bulgarian's forehand was put under huge pressure throughout the encounter, but she was able to make the necessary adjustments to deal with the situation.
Gasparyan arguably has the more reliable shots off the baseline. That said, a lot will depend on how well she can handle the variety of shots that Pironkova throws at her.
This one has all the makings of a close match. But if the Bulgarian can continue to use her forehand slice as effectively as she has in her last two matches, she should be able to securely the coveted qualification berth.
Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to win in three sets.Published 12 Jan 2021, 19:29 IST