Fixture: Andrea Petkovic vs Tsvetana Pironkova
Date: 28 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live Telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Andrea Petkovic vs Tsvetana Pironkova preview
The first round of the 2020 Roland Garros will see Andrea Petkovic take on Tsvetana Pironkova in a great throwback to the early 2010s of women's tennis.
Both women were regular features on the tour back then, and had sprung up some of their best results around that time. While Petkovic had just entered the top 10 on the back of consistent results in 2011, Pironkova was finding her feat as a Wimbledon specialist with back-to-back successes at SW19.
Petkovic - a former semifinalist in Paris - will definitely be looking to recreate the magic as she returns from a near year long break. But Pironkova will not make things easy for her.
Playing in her first tournament in three years herself, Pironkova made it all the way to the quarterfinals at the recently concluded US Open. She showed shockingly little rust in taking out the likes of Garbine Muguruza and Donna Vekic en route.
The Bulgarian has always preferred playing on quick courts, and she made good use of her big first serve and flat groundstrokes to win a string of matches at Flushing Meadows. However, the conditions in Paris are set to be very different.
The slower clay, colder weather conditions and the new Wilson balls at play will all complicate things for Pironkova, who is not the most equipped to generate power and heavy spin on the ball.
On the other hand, Petkovic thrives in such conditions and does not mind slugging it out from the back court. It will be interesting to see what game play Pironkova comes up with to throw Petkovic off her rhythm.
Andrea Petkovic vs Tsvetana Pironkova head-to-head
Andrea Petkovic and Tsvetana Pironkova have split their previous two meetings, so the head-to-head currently stands at 1-1. While the Bulgarian took their first meeting in 2007, Petkovic managed to pull one back at the 2014 WTA Tournament of Champions.
Andrea Petkovic vs Tsvetana Pironkova prediction
Both women will enter this match with a clear intent. Andrea Petkovic would be eyeing a winning return, and Tsvetana Pironkova would be looking to make an adjustment from her successful run at Flushing Meadows.
The Bulgarian put to rest all questions surrounding her form despite playing after a gap of three years. And while her guile and unorthodox shot-making does work best on the faster surfaces, she has had her moments on clay as well in the past.
If Pironkova can find a way to get her timing right in the slower conditions, she might have enough variety to keep Petkovic guessing. But if she begins to indulge in long baseline rallies and gives Petkovic time to settle into her own rhythm, the stealthy German will eventually wear her down.
Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to win in two tight sets.