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…
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!