Wimbledon 🇬🇧 First Round Match Preview + Prediction
(7) 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic vs 🇧🇬 Tsvetana Pironkova
Belinda Bencic has drawn one of the toughest unseeded players in the draw, the seventh seed will face Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round at SW19 on Tuesday. This is a brutal draw for both players, both consider grass to be their preferred surface and would have great expectations heading into the third Grand Slam of the season. A first round loss would be a massive disappointment for either lady, therefore the stakes are extremely high heading into this match.
Belinda Bencic’s preparation for Wimbledon has been pretty good. The Swiss number 1 was sidelined for the entire clay court season with a back injury but has returned to play three grass court tournaments prior to Wimbledon. Bencic started her comeback with a solid run to the semi-finals in 's-Hertogenbosch but was alarmingly forced to retire injured in her first round match in Birmingham. Bencic returned to the courts one week later in Eastbourne where she suffered a 6-7 6-7 loss to Elena Vesnina. Although Bencic lost that match there were positive signs as she was seemingly playing without pain and at a reasonably high level, Bencic maintains that she is no longer effected by any ongoing injuries.
Tsvetana Pironkova has always been considered a dangerous opponent on a grass court since her semi-final appearance at Wimbledon in 2010, the Bulgarian backed up that performance with a run to the quarter-finals in 2011. Unfortunately for Pironkova she has only reached the second week at Wimbledon on one occasion since those spectacular results. Pironkova’s preparation for this year’s event has been quite good. The former semi-finalist participated in Birmingham as her only warm-up event where she came through the qualifying draw to reach the quarter-final stage.
Belinda Bencic has a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Tsvetana Pironkova. Bencic defeated Pironkova at the first round stage of Wimbledon last year, coming from a set down to record a 3-6 6-1 6-3 victory. Their most recent clash was earlier this year at the Sydney International where Bencic won 6-3 6-3. Clearly this is a pretty good match-up for Bencic given she has been able to defeat Pironkova at her two favourite tournaments.
I suspect Bencic will maintain her prefect record over Pironkova (assuming she is fully fit). Bencic is generally the more solid player, both possess world-class backhands but it is Bencic who has a better forehand and also has better movement around the court. Ultimately, Bencic has a few more strings to her bow and should find a way through this tough first round encounter.