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Rejuvenated Pironkova upsets Muguruza to advance to third round

Tsvetana Pironkova returned to the big time in fine style after the birth of her first child, upsetting tenth seed Garbine Muguruza after three years away from the tour.

Tsvetana Pironkova Tsvetana Pironkova during the Nottingham tournament, in 2017.
  • US Open second round, women’s singles
  • Pironkova d. Muguruza 7-5, 6-3
  • Key stats: Pironkova was unstoppable on serve, winning 93% of points on first serve
  • Why you should read this story: Pironkova has been away from the tour for three years after the birth of her son and launch of a fitness label

Muguruza gained the early break and things seemed to be going according to plan early on. But Pironkova, broke back before seeing out the opening set, 7-5.

It was not the first crisis that twice major winner Muguruza has had to deal with so far this tournament, the Spaniard having to dig deep to win her opening round match against Nao Hibino 6-4, 6-4. But the US Open has strangely never been a happy hunting ground for the two-time major champion, the Spaniard never having been past the fourth round in seven previous attempts.

So it transpired, the second set going with serve until Pironkova broke again late in the second, wrapping up a fine victory with an ace.

“It was very difficult to get into the match,” said Pironkova. “She was swinging pretty well and it took me some time to adjust my game but then I was going for every point, I was just trying to be there and put the ball in court as much as possible and I found my rhythm and also started swinging really well, and I’m really, really happy that I was able to win this match.”

Pironkova had been away from the tour for three years after taking time off for the birth of her son Alexander and launching her own leisure line, Pironetic. But the thrill of competition, albeit without a crowd to drive her on, lured the former Wimbledon semi-finalist to one of the biggest stages of all.

“Well, that was one of the things, interacting with the crowd, and playing big matches. That’s something incredible and you can’t have it anywhere. Coming here for the US Open and it being my first tournament in three years, it was a bit risky, you know, but at the same time I was really excited and very motivated to play well on this big stage and I think this motivation kept me pushing. I’m not going to hide. I didn’t expect my first tournament to be so good and to go so well, but it’s welcome and that’s why I came back, for these matches, and for these stages.”

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