Fixture: Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova
Date: 30 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm CEST, 5.30 pm IST
Live Telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova preview
In a repeat of her US Open first round match, Serena Williams managed to battle past fellow American Kristie Ahn on Monday. Williams outlasted her opponent in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-0, for her second win over Ahn in four weeks.
The legendary American, who is still chasing that elusive 24th Grand Slam title, has been rewarded with another rematch from Flushing Meadows. Her opponent on Wednesday will be Tsvetana Pironkova, one of the big surprises of the US Open women's draw.
The Bulgarian, playing in her first tournament in over three years, reached the quarterfinals in New York before losing out to Williams in three sets.
Pironkova has made a successful transition from the New York hardcourts to the European clay, taking out former semifinalist Andrea Petkovic in her opening match here. The comfortable first-round win would have given her plenty of confidence, given that Pironkova hasn't always had best results on the surface.
Her game, which is based around a big first serve, a slice forehand and unusually flat groundstrokes, is tailored-made for the quicker courts. Nonetheless, Pironkova does have a Roland Garros quarterfinal under her belt; she made it to the last eight in 2016, beating the likes of Agnieszka Radwanska and Sloane Stephens.
The heavier conditions at this year's event do not necessarily help Pironkova, but it is interesting to note that her 2016 breakthrough in Paris came under similarly damp conditions and poor weather. And if her first round performance is any indication, the 33-year-old hasn't had too much trouble adjusting so far.
Serena Willams vs Tsvetana Pironkova head-to-head
Serena Williams continues to have an unbeaten record against Tsvetana Pironkova in the head-to-head. She managed to extend her lead to a healthy 5-0 margin with the three-set win over the Bulgarian in New York earlier this month.
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova prediction
One of the big reasons behind Tsvetana Pironkova's success in 2016 was her efficient use of the forehand slice and drop shot. That's a strategy that seems to work immensely well on the damp courts.
Many players, including Pironkova herself, have had a good degree of success using those shots at this year's edition as well. Serena Williams will, therefore, have to be prepared to handle a lot of the backspin coming from Pironkova's racket - especially given the fact that she struggled with the shot even in New York.
A good start will be key for Williams, because she might find it hard to keep up the intensity on her groundstrokes the longer the match goes on. Pironkova, on the other hand, can continue to go for her shots as she relies more on her timing to generate pace rather than brute force.
The Bulgarian will try to be on the lookout for the slightest of drops in the Williams game, and pounce on any opportunity that comes her way.
Williams in her post-match conference talked about the change that a little extra self-confidence brought to her game against Kristie Ahn. You get the feeling that if she can combine all the best elements of her game well on the day, she might have enough firepower to get over Pironkova's wizardry.
Prediction: Serena Williams to win in three sets.
Follow Sportskeeda to get the latest French Open 2020 Results and SchedulePublished 29 Sep 2020, 15:58 IST