Serena Williams continues her hunt for No. 24 on Wednesday when she faces Tsvetana Pironkova for the second slam running. The returning Bulgarian gave Serena an almighty scare at the US Open, taking a set before eventually tiring in the decider. The winner will play a Czech in round three with Barbora Krejickova or Barbora Strycova facing off tomorrow.
Serena defeated Kristie Ahn in round one for the second slam running but was pushed in the opening set of her 7-6 6-0 win, twice having to come from a break down. She hit 36 unforced errors in the match, struggling at times with the conditions in the early stages. “The biggest difference was just confidence,” Serena summed up after the match. “I just need to play with more confidence, like I’m Serena. So that was it. I just started playing like that, and I love the clay and I started playing like it, opening the court and moving and sliding.”
Pironkova picked up a number of scalps at the US Open and will hope to do so again here although she will be less of an unknown quantity this time round. The Bulgarian’s variety should work well on these courts if her first round win is anything to go by. She beat former semi finalist Andrea Petkovic in fairly routine fashion 6-3 6-3.
“She’s playing well, but I am too. I’m ready to play her. She’ll be ready to play me. It will be a long match, she will get a lot of balls back, but so am I. I’ll be ready.” Serena said on the match. She will be eager to not get drawn into a lengthy affair like last time, something that could prove fatal for her if she cannot hit through the conditions.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets