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Roland Garros: Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova preview, head-to-head & prediction | French Open 2020

Serena Williams
Serena Williams
ANALYST
Modified 30 Sep 2020, 15:11 IST
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Match details

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

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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.

Tsvetama Pironkova
Tsvetama Pironkova

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.

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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
Serena Williams

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.

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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.


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Published 29 Sep 2020, 15:58 IST
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