Fixture: Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova
Date: 3 February 2021
Tournament: Yarra Valley Classic 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx. 6.30 pm local time, 1 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova preview
Serena Williams made a solid start to her 2021 season, scoring a 6-1, 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova in her opening match at the Yarra Valley Classic.
The 23-time Major winner has been rewarded with a clash against Tsvetana Pironkova, who continues her splendid run of form.
Pironkova has started the year with a clean 5-0 record. She kicked off the season with three match wins at the Australian Open qualifiers held in Dubai last month. And the Bulgarian has followed that up with upset wins over Liudmila Samsonova and Donna Vekic in Melbourne.
Pironkova will now face Serena Williams for the third time since her comeback to the sport at the 2020 US Open. While she put up a valiant fight against her more fancied opponent in New York, she wasn't able to break through.
The 33-year-old was given a walkover at the duo's second meeting in Paris.
Pironkova will now be hoping to find a way past Williams on the court, especially since the American hasn't had her best results in Australia over the last couple of years.
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova head-to-head
Serena Williams leads Tsvetana Pironkova 5-0 in the head-to-head. That said, the American hasn't always dominated the pair's matches; many of those wins have come in close three-setters.
Serena Williams vs Tsvetana Pironkova prediction
Even with her struggles over the last couple of seasons, Serena Williams enters most of her matches as a firm favorite. This third-round encounter with Tsvetana Pironkova is no exception.
Williams was good on her serve in her win over Daria Gavrilova, and seemed pretty sharp overall. She will look to dominate with the first delivery against Pironkova, who isn't known for her returning skills.
It is the rallies, especially on the second serve, where Williams is likely to face more trouble. Pironkova has an extensive arsenal of trick shots and forehand slices that have troubled Williams in the past.
With both women playing some good tennis recently, this match seems to be heading towards another close finish. Pironkova will need to be brave and take her chances against Williams, or else the American will maintain her spotless head-to-head record.
Prediction: Serena Williams to win in three sets.