Set Points, Stuttgart Day 3: A great day for the Germans as Petkovic, Goerges and Kerber all win

Day 3 of main draw action at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart was a great day for the home contingent with two more German players winning their first round matches to advance to the second round. In the first of the second round matches, the seeds went two out of two including the home favourite. No match previews for Thursday, but i’m *planning* to cover a couple of Friday’s quarter-finals which *could* be awesome! Read on for Wednesday’s Set Points from Stuttgart…

Set Points

In the first of the second round matches, Angelique Kerber made a winning return to Stuttgart, recovering from a set down to fend off a gutsy effort from Annika Beck, 4-6 6-3 6-1. Beck played a superb opening set, twice recovering from a break down. Kerber had 40-0 on her serve at *4-5 but Beck fought back to deuce and played a wonderfully aggressive point to produce a set point which she duly converted.

Kerber was a little subdued early on, not able to dictate rallies and committing far too many unforced errors. She improved in a break-happy second set that featured eight breaks in nine games. The third set was quality from both with the pair combining for 28 (!) winners to just seven unforced errors. Beck played some super aggressive points but Kerber upped her intensity in a big way and cut out the errors. All in all, a fun match!

If you missed out on Kerber-Beck, here are the WTA highlights of the match.

Andrea Petkovic won her first match on the WTA tour since Doha in February with a 6-2 6-4 first round victory over Kristina Mladenovic. It was Petkovic’s fourth consecutive victory over the Frenchwoman.

Here are some awesome photos of Petkovic from Jimmie48.

The 2011 Stuttgart champion, Julia Goerges, also had a reasonably straightforward opener against Alizé Cornet, edging a tight first set before dropping just eight points in the second set to prevail, 6-4 6-0. This is another one-sided head-to-head with Goerges extending her record over Cornet to 5-0.

Lucie Safarova won her first set in singles this year but couldn’t quite get the win, coming up short in a tight three setter against Karolina Pliskova. Watching this one unfold on the live scoreboard was a right palava! Safarova went up 3-1 in the decider after Pliskova took a medical time-out. However, Pliskova then won four straight games to lead 5-3. Safarova battled back to 5-5, saving four match points, but couldn’t hold onto her serve with Pliskova sealing the victory on her seventh match point, 7-6(4) 4-6 7-5 in two hours and 30 minutes.

It was a step in the right direction for Lucie. It was nice to see her involved in a lengthy match and having just watched back snippets of the match, this was easily her best performance since the comeback. Getting into these tight situations is encouraging and will only help her to return to her best level again. Pliskova goes through to play Ana Ivanovic in Thursday’s late night match.

Roberta Vinci won her third consecutive three setter on the WTA tour, defeating Ekaterina Makarova, 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4. By all accounts, it was a high quality match and the stats certainly show this.

And I loved this quote from Roberta in press about playing in Rome!

The late night second round match on Wednesday saw Garbiñe Muguruza produce a solid display to defeat Timea Babos, 6-2 6-2. The Spaniard’s serving radar was off in the first set and while she improved a little in the second set, it was the subtle aggression on return that did the damage. Muguruza was clutch on the big points and advances to the quarter-finals where she will play either Petra Kvitova or Monica Niculescu.

Did you know that Muguruza now has her own app?!

And finally, we’re just starting the clay court season but I can’t help but look forward to the grass court season which is just two months away. The video in the link below by @AegonTennisEB on Twitter brought back some nice memories from 2014 and got me excited for Eastbourne!

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7 thoughts on “Set Points, Stuttgart Day 3: A great day for the Germans as Petkovic, Goerges and Kerber all win

  1. Gutsy from Annika Beck! I remember predicting she’d beat Kerber at the Australian Open and this is the kind of match I was expecting then. I hope she takes a lot of confidence from this match. She lost it in the end because her first serve percentage dropped as the match went on and she wasn’t winning anything on her second serve. And in the final set I feel like she stayed behind the baseline far too much.
    Kerber was superb though. I wouldn’t say she was passive in that first set, I think if anything she was going for too much which was pretty surprising. When she *did* start to defend better and keep the rallies going, that’s what gave her the edge. I reckon her quarter final against Carla could be VERY interesting if Suarez Navarro brings her A game.

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    • No I don’t think Kerber was passive in the first set, more impatient. The third set was great but yes, as you say Beck’s first serve % dropped and Kerber’s increased. Kerber-CSN would be good. The quarter-final line-up could be great!

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      • Sorry it looked like I was implying you said she was passive that wasn’t what I meant, I just think it’s a positive for Kerber that she managed to start aggressively after having a bit of a post Slam slump the past couple of months. It’s amazing looking at where she is now compared to where she was two years ago, the sheer confidence in really GOING for her play. I can only think of Serena as being more adept at changing the direction on a big groundstroke and making it look so easy.

        Thoughts on Pliskova vs Ivanovic?

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      • Oh no, I didn’t think you were implying that! I agree, Kerber’s come a long way. It’s great to see her taking more risks and I must say she’s one of my favourite players to watch. She’s also my favourite player to photograph live!

        Pliskova-Ivanovic is an interesting one… Ivanovic should have the advantage on clay but with Stuttgart being pretty quick, the surface should help Pliskova out on serve. Quite a few of Ivanovic’s losses have been against big servers… Not to mention this one sided head-to-head. Pliskova seems to have a leg injury so that might have an impact on this match which is why I avoided making a prediction. I’d like to see Ivanovic win this one, I think it’s a big match for her, even if Pliskova is struggling. Sometimes that can make things tougher if you know your opponent has an injury.

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      • Their last match was Ivanovic struggling with an injury and Nigel telling her to retire. I’ve no idea why Pliskova dominates their head to head. Sure Ivanovic doesnt have a great second serve but Karolina doesn’t have a great return really and she struggles with Kerber and Radwanska’s lame second serves…

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      • It may simply be a mental edge Pliskova has. I believe Ana is more worried about Pliskova’s game than Karolina is about what Ana will or will not do. In a game of attrition, I think Ana will blink and likely fade before Karolina. If she is carrying an injury, that will be tough for her. Not sure about Ana’s own mental state. But, along with Kerber, and Maria, Ana is the other one girl who I know really loves this tournament. Don’t know why but she does. Then again, love can only do so much for you, your tennis must still cross the line.

        I would go for Ana, but I have trust issues with her which still linger even in Stuttgart.

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      • One promising aspect of Ana’s match against Wittoeft was her backhand. She was consistently hitting it deep and even snuck winners from that wing. Usually when she’s playing well on that wing she’s that much more difficult to break down. Fingers crossed. What with Sharapova being out of the way, Serena hardly playing and Halep/Wozniacki not playing well, the WTA needs her to be making deep runs to get bums on seats.

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