Garbine Muguruza faces Tsvetana Pironkova in round two on Thursday, hoping to move one step closer to surpassing her career best fourth round in New York. Meanwhile, Pironkova is one of the stories of the tournament so far having won her first match after a three year absence from the tour.
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A nagging shoulder injury kept Pironkova out of action for a long while before the birth of her son in April 2018 put any return to the tour on hold. In her first match back, she was a comfortable winner against Ludmila Samsonova – defeating the Russian 6-2 6-3 in her first New York match since 2016.
Muguruza eked out a 6-4 6-4 win against Nao Hibino, fighting back for the win after a slow start that saw her fall 1-4 down early. An early break in the second left her in charge from then on but she would have to settle for just that, eventually taking the match on her second match point after failing to convert one on return. “I think Hibino started very fast, very well, and she took the first four games very fast. Then I started, little by little, feeling better, and starting to feel a little bit more my game. I could turn it around.” she said.
“It’s going to be a little bit interesting to see, coming back for so many years out of the tour, to face an opponent I haven’t watched in the last years. So it’s always going to be tricky. But she’s playing well. She’s a fast court player. I’m just going to try to be ready for my matches with not a high expectation with the circumstances.” Muguruza said of Pironkova. It would be a major shock were the Bulgarian to pull this one off after so long out but she remains a tactically sound player and could make things difficult if Muguruza has another slow start like she did against Hibino.
Prediction – Garbine Muguruza in straight sets