??? Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
?? (6) Serena Williams vs. ?? Tsvetana Pironkova
Serena Williams and Tsvetana Pironkova will go head-to-head at the second major in a row as the pair clash at the second round stage at Roland Garros. Williams just edged past Pironkova in 3 sets at the quarter-final stage of the US Open earlier this month, can the Bulgarian avenge that loss in Paris?
Both Williams and Pironkova are playing for the first time since their respective deep runs at the US Open earlier this month. Pironkova shocked the tennis world by reaching the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows despite being away from the tour for over 2 years. Williams defeated Pironkova 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the final 8 before being eliminated in the semi-finals.
Serena Williams made a decent start to her 2020 Roland Garros campaign, the 3-time former champion claimed a 7-6 6-0 win over Kristie Ahn to advance to the second round. Meanwhile Pironkova claimed a decent 6-3 6-3 win over Andrea Petkovic, the Bulgarian’s best result in Paris was a run to the quarter-finals in 2016, a year that featured similarly cold and rainy conditions to this year’s event.
Williams holds a perfect 5-0 head-to-head record over Pironkova. 3 of the 5 matches between the pair went the distance, Pironkova certainly made Williams work hard during their quarter-final clash in New York.
This promises to be a close match. I am not convinced by Williams on clay at the moment, Roland Garros has been Serena’s least successful major in recent times, the heavy conditions will make life even more difficult for the 39-year-old. The problem for Williams is that her movement is the area of her game that has declined the most, that is an area that can be exploited on clay more than any other surface. Pironkova has the mix of power and versatility from the baseline to really challenge Williams in these conditions. Williams is undoubtedly rusty on this surface, Pironkova can take advantage. The Bulgarian will have learned from her mistakes in New York, with a couple of adjustments she has what it takes to get the win in troublesome conditions.
Prediction: Tsvetana Pironkova to defeat Serena Williams in 3 sets