Fixture: Aryna Sabalenka vs Tsvetana Pironkova
Date: 25 March 2021
Tournament: Miami Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Miami, Florida
Category: WTA 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,340,000
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 12.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Europsort
Aryna Sabalenka vs Tsvetana Pironkova preview
The second round of the 2021 Miami Open will see a clash of contrasting styles, with the big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka set to take on the cunning Tsvetana Pironkova.
Sabalenka was in the midst of a purple patch a month ago. The Belarusian extended her winning streak to 17 matches at the start of the season, which was only snapped at the Yarra Valley Classic.
She has since suffered a few tough losses, and will be looking for a return to winning ways in Miami.
Pironkova, meanwhile, has started the season with an impressive 8-2 win-loss record. She has already scored a few strong wins in Miami, and will be feeling good about her prospects.
The Bulgarian came up with a spirited effort to outlast talented youngster Marta Kostyuk in the first round last night, prevailing in a three-set epic. She was able to raise her game in the big moments, which helped her close out a tight win.
Most aspects of Pironkova's game have come together well for her in the Floridian city this week. That said, she will need to improve her serving numbers significantly to stand a chance against an aggressive opponent like Sabalenka.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Tsvetana Pironkova head-to-head
Aryna Sabalenka and Tsvetana Pironkova have never crossed paths on the tour before, so their current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.
Aryna Sabalenka vs Tsvetana Pironkova prediction
Aryna Sabalenka enters this contest as the firm favorite on paper, but is likely to face some tough resistance from Tsvetana Pironkova. Sabalenka is known to possess a big strike, but her opponent's ability to redirect pace could trouble her.
Pironkova was faced with plenty of baseline firepower in her match against Kostyuk too, but was able to outmanoeuvre her opponent in the end. Her struggles in that match largely stemmed from her poor first serve percentage, as the Bulgarian can be vulnerable behind her second delivery.
Pironkova will need her first serve more than ever in the match against Sabalenka, who likes to take a big swing on the return. The 33-year-old is also likely to be fatigued after having played a few long matches this week, and will need all the free points that she can amass.
Pironkova can weave a web using her forehand slices and short angles, which can frustrate most players in the world. But if the Bulgarian is at not at her 100% physically, she might find it find to stay with Sabalenka in this one.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.