WTA Stuttgart 2015: Preview and Predictions

Hello, Stuttgart! So i’m quite excited about the week ahead and this has been further validated by the draw for the 2015 Porsche Grand Prix.  There are some superb first round matches, as was to be expected with the quality of the entry list.  In case you missed it, I blogged about some of the most memorable matches in Stuttgart over the last five years HERE.  For live Stuttgart coverage this week, Women’s Tennis Blog and The Tennis Island are ones to follow.  Jimmie48, Women’s Tennis Blog resident photographer, will be in Stuttgart as will @Renestance, one of my favourite follows on Twitter.  For now, let’s take a look at this stonking draw…

Maria SharapovaMaria Sharapova returns to Stuttgart as the defending champion and unbeaten in all three previous appearances at this tournament.  There has been some speculation as to whether Sharapova would be fit for the tournament after she pulled out of Fed Cup this weekend with a foot injury, but it appears she will be playing.  After a bye in the first round, she could meet Angelique Kerber in the second round.  After a ropey couple of months, Kerber fought her way through the Charleston draw to claim her fourth WTA title, beating Madison Keys in a superb final.  Sharapova and Kerber have had some great matches and their last encounter was a magnificent fourth round match at Wimbledon, which was my favourite WTA match of 2014.  Kerber played her best match of the entire year to sneak out the win.  Pre-draw, Sharapova v Kerber was the one of the potential matches that I thought about so i’m glad we *could* get to see it.  The number six seed, Ekaterina Makarova is projected to meet Sharapova in the quarters.

Petra Kvitova returns to WTA tour action in Stuttgart after taking an extended break from the tour.  Petra revealed more about her decision to skip Indian Wells and Miami in her blog with BBC Sport HERE.  Petra made her comeback in Fed Cup where she enjoyed straight set wins over Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia.  Her first match of the week in Stuttgart will be against  Madison Brengle or a qualifier.  As we move onto the clay, this is Kuznetsova’s most profitable time of the year and she will be one to watch at every clay court tournament.  Last year’s finalist, Ana Ivanovic is also in this section and has drawn a stinker as she will play Caroline Garcia in the first round.  The pair have met twice this year already with Garcia winning in Monterrey and Indian Wells..  There has been conflicting news about Ivanovic’s fitness; there were reports that said she was fully fit for the first time since Australia, but then I also saw a comment on Twitter implying her participation is under question… so who knows!

When the world number 10 goes up against the world number 11 in the FIRST ROUND of a tournament, you know it’s a cracker! In a rematch of the Miami semi-final, Carla Suarez Navarro and Andrea Petkovic will meet first up.  Both have been in superb form of late although do have their concerns; Carla has been nursing a wrist injury, while Petkovic has had an exhausting couple of weeks, reaching back-to-back semi-finals in Miami and Charleston and playing Fed Cup.  The winner of that match will play either Julia Goerges or Belinda Bencic in the second round.  As a former champion of the Porsche Grand Prix, Goerges is always one to watch on this surface.  She thrashed Bencic earlier in the year at the Australian Open and although I think it will be much closer this time round, i’d probably still give the edge to Goerges purely based on this tournament.  Caroline Wozniacki is the highest seed in the third quarter and could meet Lucie Safarova in the second round… Lucie has beaten Caroline at this tournament before and had a wild Fed Cup win over Caroline Garcia, saving five match points.

The final quarter features Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska.  Halep’s first match of the week will be against Garbine Muguruza or Barbora Strycova (note that it is no longer BZS!) in what should be an intriguing first rounder between two completely different styles of play.  It is worth noting that Muguruza has beaten Halep in their two previous matches.  I think Halep is going to have a storming clay court season, but i’m not entirely sure that this surface suits her game so I wouldn’t be surprised if she falls early.  Radwanska opens against Sara Errani, which should be a fun one.  The winner of that will meet Sabine Lisicki or Zarina Diyas.  In front of a home crowd and at a tournament where she has picked up some notable wins in the past, i’d back Sabine to make the quarters.

1st Round Predictions:

Ana Ivanovic d. Caroline Garcia in 2 tight sets

Carla Suarez Navarro d. Andrea Petkovic in 2 tight sets

Julia Goerges d. Belinda Bencic in 3 sets

Sabine Lisicki d. Zarina Diyas in 2 sets

*First round previews for the remaining matches to follow*

Final Prediction: Sharapova d. Muguruza

 

Photo by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Note – This post has been updated to take account of the withdrawals of Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova

19 thoughts on “WTA Stuttgart 2015: Preview and Predictions

  1. I didn’t think you’d go with Sharapova. She’s favourite for the title but I have a feeling that she could be upset by Kerber. A nightmare second round match for me as they are two of my favourites.

    This is a great tournament and I really want to see players like Ivanovic, Wozniacki and Radwanska have good weeks. You really forget the quality of this field when you get Makarova-JJ Aga-Errani and CSN-Petkovic in the opening round.

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    • Ahh I love to surprise, Gene 😛 To be honest, I felt quite solid picking Maria and it was the bottom half where I couldn’t decide anything. As you mention, that potential match against Kerber could be an interesting one, but i’d still give her the nod. I agree about Ana, Caro and Aga… chuck in Petra too, i’d like to see at least one of them go deep this week.

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      • When I saw the draw my mind came back to your post about the town 10 matches in Stuttgart and that sharapova Lerner match. I’d like to see a repeat of that. I’d love to see an Ivanovic Kvitova QF.

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      • I hate autocorrect! This is what I should have said “When I saw the draw my mind came back to your post about the top 10 matches in Stuttgart and that sharapova kerber match. I’d like to see a repeat of that. I’d love to see an Ivanovic Kvitova QF.”

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  2. I heard Ana pulled out of Fed purely to avoid a really tight turnaround, but we’ll see. She really needs a string of matches to play back into form.

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  3. I have only one favourite thats Ana Ivanovic who is having a tough 2015 after that beating she got in the finals from a set up with Sharopova in early Januray.I wish she reaches the quater/semi finals somehow/anyhow

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  4. Halep has a chance to win because she is the only consistent player in the field at the moment . Bouchard isn’t slumping at all, she only played good in the majors . After Wimbledon she will be back where she belongs.

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  5. James I’m so dissapointed to see you give more credit to Garbine even considering Simona’s results this year and that clay is one of her speciality.You should really start watching her games now 😀😁 Anyway hope she will prove you once again wrong. I’m rooting for a Kerber/Kvitova vs Halep final ☺Stuttgart has a great draw and happily super matches at decent hour😉

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    • I think Muguruza is a poor matchup for Halep because she’s so good at not only dictating but also taking all time away from her opponents. She can make a clay court play so quickly!

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    • Garcia only won two matches. Two matches where she played lights out tennis against a struggling opponent. The last time they played on clay it was completely the opposite.

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