Fixture: CiCi Bellis vs Bernarda Pera
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 Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
CiCi Bellis vs Bernarda Pera preview
Catherine 'CiCi' Bellis will take on compatriot Bernarda Pera on Monday, in an all-American opening round showdown at the 2020 French Open.
CiCi Bellis became an overnight star by beating Dominika Cibulkova at the 2014 US Open, while aged just 15. The teenager looked set for greatness as she broke into the top 50 soon after her 18th birthday, even reaching the third round of the French Open in 2017.
But as luck would have it, that would be her last competitive match on a claycourt until this week.
An injury-plagued 18-month spell across 2018 and 2019 forced Bellis to start from scratch again. Now 21, the American showed plenty of grit in making a stunning comeback at this year's Australian Open, where she reached the third round.
Bellis has continued producing strong results in 2020, reaching the quarterfinals in Lexington and falling to the in-form Jennifer Brady in the second round of the US Open.
Bernarda Pera, on the other hand, has a dismal 3-4 win-loss record since the resumption of tennis. Moreover, she was winless in five Grand Slam matches before breaking that losing streak by reaching the second round of the US Open.
The 25-year-old has won only one main draw match at Roland Garros in her career, back in 2018. However, Pera will fancy her chances to improve that record against CiCi Bellis, who will be playing on clay for the first time in around 40 months.
CiCi Bellis vs Bernarda Pera head-to-head
The head-to-head between CiCi Bellis and Bernarda Pera currently stands at 0-0. The first round match at Roland Garros will be the first ever meeting between the two Americans.
CiCi Bellis vs Bernarda Pera prediction
CiCi Bellis has been slowly getting back to her best level since her return in November 2019 from multiple surgeries.
Bellis is a very versatile player; consistent from the baseline, she waits for the right moment to turn on the aggression and take control of a rally. Equipped with good groundstrokes off both wings, the American doesn't shy away from attacking the net either. But one of Bellis' most underrated qualities is her unswerving fighting spirit.
The left-handed Bernarda Pera, meanwhile, possesses great power and can regularly hit deep forehands that are difficult for the opponent to defend. Pera is also very athletic and can defend quite well herself.
The Croatian-born American is also one of the better returners on tour. She would relish taking on her younger compatriot's slightly sub-par serve and return it with interest.
However Pera's recent form would be a matter of concern for her. And that, more than anything else, makes CiCi Bellis the slight favorite going into Monday's match.
Prediction: CiCi Bellis to win in three sets.Published 27 Sep 2020, 11:29 IST