Fixture: (20) Tsvetana Pironkova vs Na-lae Han
Date: 12 January 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021 qualifiers
Round: Second round
Venue: Dubai, UAE
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Na-lae Han preview
Tsvetana Pironkova got her 2021 season underway with a resounding 6-0, 6-1 victory over Japan's Kyoka Okamura in the first round of the Australian Open qualifiers.
The Bulgarian made the best use of the fast courts, and asserted her aggressive game right from the start. She will now look to build on the performance as she takes on Korea's Na-lae Han in the next round.
The 28-year-old Han on her part registered a comeback win over Austria's Julia Grabher on Day 1 of the qualifiers, and would be feeling good about her game.
The Korean did not play a lot of tennis last year. In fact, her last appearance came at the Australian Open 12 months ago. Playing in her first Grand Slam main draw, Han lost to Tamara Zidansek in the first round; needless to say, she would be hoping for a better showing this time around.
A seasoned hardcourt player, Han has won multiple titles on the ITF level. Her game is well-suited to the conditions, but she will still be a heavy underdog against Pironkova.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Na-lae Han head-to-head
Tsvetana Pironkova and Na-lae Han have never crossed paths on the tour before, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Na-lae Han prediction
Tsvetana Pironkova took little time to find her stride in the first-round match against Okamura. She was effective on serve and made great use of her powerful backhand, hitting winners off it effortlessly.
A lot would depend on how quickly Na-lae Han can find an answer to the Bulgarian's aggressive style. She will have to show a greater level of intent than she did against Grabher, or she could find herself trailing early.
Pironkova on her part continues to impress on her return to the sport after a three-year break. This is the most comfortable she has looked on hardcourts since her title-winning run at Sydney in 2014.
It will take a special performance from Han to stop the Bulgari from progressing further.
Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to win in straight sets.