Bulgaria’s top female player Tsvetana Pironkova lost in the second round of the Australian Open on January 15 to 17th-seeded Samantha Stosur in straight set (6-2, 6-0).
The defeat marked the end of Pironkova’s career-best winning streak of nine matches, during which she won her first career WTA title in Sydney. Pironkova, whose best runs at a Grand Slam came at Wimbledon in 2010 (semi-finals) and 2011 (quarter-finals), has never made it past the second round of the Australian Open in nine attempts.
This year, fresh off her title win, which included wins over three top-10 ranked players and showing better form than at any point during a disastrous 2013, Pironkova was expected to finally clear that hurdle.
Despite an even start to the match against home crowd favourite Stosur on the Rod Laver Arena, Pironkova appeared to be increasingly hampered by the injury she sustained in Sydney and required a medical time-out between the two sets. She lost the last nine games of the match.
“I mean, you could kind of tell she wasn’t moving so great and all that. But regardless of whether the trainer comes out, you don’t want to take your foot off the pedal,” Stosur said after the match.
In the men’s draw, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, seeded 22nd, will play Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan, ranked 53rd in the world, on January 16.
(Photo: Brad Touesnard/flickr.com)