"Once you become a mother you don't magically lose your ability to play."— wta (@WTA) September 3, 2020
🇧🇬 Tsvetana Pironkova is back on the Tour and she has not lost a step --> https://t.co/05rgsSOWUe pic.twitter.com/PkWDRk1JtI
This morning, I had a dental appointment and had to miss several matches I wanted to see, including the one featuring 10th seed Garbine Muguruza and Tsvetana Pironkova. (I like to see any match featuring either Muguruza or Pironkova). The Bulgarian Woman of Mystery hasn't been on the tour for three years-she sustained a serious injury and had to take time off, then she had a baby and took a lot of time off, and--let's face it--she wasn't always around that much before she took the long break.
As I left my house, I was thinking, "wouldn't it be just like Pironkova to upset Mugu?"--and, of course, that's exactly what she did. Both players pack unpredictability in their tennis bags, though the Spaniard's is more deadly, given that she's an elite player. It didn't help that Muguruza was also just coming off an injury break.
Pironkova has some specialities--a very tricky serve, generous use of the forehand slice, and an appetite for taking out highly-ranked players. I always like watching her walk around the court, with her loose gait and her pensive expression. This morning, she had first and second serve win percentages of 93 and 58, and that says it all. Pironkova and Muguruza each hit only five winners, and they made only three unforced errors between them. I wish I could have seen the match.
Of course, Muguruza isn't alone. Yesterday, top seed Karolina (or, according to the commentator, "Katarina") Pliskova was upset in straight sets by Caroline Garcia, whose slump has been such that she isn't even seeded. Also out are:
Aryna Sabalenka (5)
Johanna Konta (9)
Elena Rybakina (11)
Marketa Vondrousova (12)
Alison Riske (13)
Dayana Yastremska (19)
Zhang Shuai (25)
Veronika Kudermetova (29)
Kiki Mladenovic (30)
Rebecca Peterson (32)
Anastaija Sevastova (31)
The one that surprised me the most was Rybakina, who was upset by Shelby Rogers. (That part isn't surprising; Rogers is somewhat of a "big stage" player.) Next for Rogers is countrywoman Madison Brengle (who has already given us an excellent off-court Suzanne Lenglen move at this tournament).
Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters, two- and three-time U.S. Open champions, respectively, are also out of the tournament, defeated in the first round.
Most of this evening's matches were rained out, so they will be played or completed tomorrow.
Six-time champion Serena Williams won her match on Arthur Ashe Stadium tonight, and 2017 champion Sloane Stephens also won today. They will meet in the third round, which should generate a good deal of excitement.
Also still in contention is 2020 Australian Open (remember the Australian Open?) champion Sofia Kenin, who will next face the tricky and inventive Ons Jabeur. I'm especially looking forward to that match.
The match I'm most looking forward to tomorrow will be contested by Caroline Garcia and 28th seed Jennifer Brady.
Pironkova vs. another seed next (#18 Vekic), so watch out Donna. ;)
I know, and Donna has been a bit up and down lately, too.
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