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US Open 2020: Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova preview, head-to-head & prediction

Tsvetana Pironkova
Tsvetana Pironkova
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Modified 31 Aug 2020, 20:56 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova

Date: 1 September 2020

Tournament: US Open 2020

Round: First Round (Round of 128)

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $39,024,000

Match timing: 11 am EDT, 8 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Star Sports / Hotstar

Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova preview

The talented Tsvetana Pironkova is making a return to professional competition at this year's US Open following a nearly three-year-long hiatus.

The Bulgarian was a familiar face through most of the 2010s, winning a WTA title in Brisbane and reaching the quarterfinals or better at a Slam thrice. However, she hasn't competed on the tour since a pregnancy-induced sabbatical ahead of the 2017 US Open.

Pironkova announced her intention to return to tennis earlier this year, and was awarded an entry into the main draw based on a protected ranking. She is now set to take on Russia's Liudmila Samsonova in a tricky opener at Flushing Meadows.

Liudmila Samsonova
Liudmila Samsonova

The Russian youngster made her WTA debut last season, after playing on the ITF circuit for a few years. She had her big break at the 2019 Palermo Open, reaching her first tour semifinal and scoring a top 50 win for the first time.

Samsonova had also registered a big win to start off the season this year. Playing on the hardcourts of Brisbane, she upset former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in straight sets to announce her arrival.

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Unfortunately for Pironkova, the quick hardcourts are where Samsonova has played some of her best tennis. The youngster has an aggressive style with groundstrokes that work really well on the surface, and it is now up to the Bulgarian to find a way to neutralize that power.

Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova head-to-head

Pironkova made it to the second week of the US Open way back in 2012
Pironkova made it to the second week of the US Open way back in 2012

This will be the first meeting between Tsvetana Pironkova and Liudmila Samsonova, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

The games of the two women couldn't be more different from each other. Pironkova has a very unorthodox style, right from her grip on the backhand to her shot selection as well as liberal use of slices and drop shots. In many ways she is the polar opposite of Samsonova's power-packed game.

That's not to say that the Bulgarian can't hit huge groundstrokes. Her backhand is an absolute cracker when it's on, and she has always been solid on serve. The elements of her game can hurt any opposition, but they might take some time to fall into place after so much time away.

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Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova prediction

Tsvetana Pironkova enters this contest without too many expectations, and will be focused on figuring out the elements of her game that worked for her back in the day.

Even so, Liudmila Samsonova should be prepared for a lot of guile and crafty shot-making. The youngster will need to be vigilant at all times because Pironkova is someone who has made a habit of upstaging power-packed players.

If she begins to find her rhythm - specially on serve and that backhand wing, Pironkova could well be on her way to a dream comeback win.

Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to win in three sets.

Published 31 Aug 2020, 20:39 IST
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