Fixture: Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova
Date: 31 January 2021
Tournament: Yarra Valley Classic 2021
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $565,530
Match timing: Approx. 3.30 pm local time, 10 am IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova preview
Tsvetana Pironkova is all set for a rematch from last year's US Open, as the Bulgarian finds herself pitted against Russia's Liudmila Samsonova in the first round of the Yarra Valley Classic.
Pironkova will, without a doubt, be looking for a repeat of the performance from Flushing Meadows. Playing her first match there in over three years, she beat her younger opponent by a rather comfortable margin of 6-2, 6-3.
For the 22-year-old Samsonova, this will be a shot at course correction. The youngster ended last year on a poor note, losing the last three of her first-round encounters.
The youngster did make a final on the ITF tour though, and has started 2021 by winning three rounds of qualification matches in Dubai. A win over a confident-looking Pironkova would be just the kind of boost she needs ahead of the rest of the season.
Samsonova plays an aggressive brand of tennis, which is well-suited to hardcourts. It goes without saying that Pironkova will not be be taking this match lightly.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova head-to-head
The first round match at Flushing Meadows is the only time that the two players have faced each other, so Tsvetana Pironkova leads the head-to-head against Liudmila Samsonova by a slender 1-0 margin.
Tsvetana Pironkova vs Liudmila Samsonova prediction
Liudmila Samsonova's power-packed game came up short against Tsvetana Pironkova's signature guile in New York, but the Russian is unlikely to make too many adjustments to her style.
Samsonva will look to take control of the rallies using her big groundstrokes, but she will have to come up with answers to the variety of shots coming at her from the other side of the net. The Russian would have to try and cut down the number of unforced errors she makes, because Pironkova will only be too keen to take advantage of any free points that come her way.
The Bulgarian is a clear favorite heading into this one, even if she is likely to face a stiffer challenge this time around than she did at the US Open. If Pironkova can find a way to effectively channel her opponent's power against her, she could be well on her way to the second round.
Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to win in three sets.