Set Points, Stuttgart Day 4: Kvitova saves 3 match points & survives Niculescu, Siegemund sizzles

The quarter-final line-up at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart is set for Friday and it’s a cracker! Six of the eight seeds have made it with just one falling on Thursday against an inspired German. For a preview of the first match of the day between Angelique Kerber and Carla Suárez Navarro, click HERE. One more preview is coming after this post and then I really need to go to bed! Read on for Thursday’s Set Points, starting with the first and best match of the day…

Set PointsPetra Kvitova saved three match points to defeat Monica Niculescu with a 2-6 7-6(5) 6-2 victory in the first match of the day in Stuttgart. I was able to watch the second set at work and it was an absolute treat! Niculescu was peak in the first set and the rally linked below from the first set is EVERYTHING.

It was chalk and cheese to Kvitova’s 6-0 6-0 first round win over Louisa Chirico although it was a completely different opponent. There were errors aplenty from Petra but she played the match points well. The first one was luck, the second two were classy!

Kvitova eventually wrapped up a wild (but tremendous) second set. The last point was amazing haha!

And Kvitova powered through the decider to secure a really decent win. If you missed out on the match, The Tennis Island had a neat recap.

There were some Peak Pojd Petra pictures from Jimmie48.

I know this may not be replicated among all tennis fans, but I have a lot of respect for Niculescu. She works so damn hard and does such a terrific job at unsettling her opponent, especially the big hitters… I think she’s great. There were a couple of hilarious reactions in this match including one that was picked up by WTA Reactions.

For all Niculescu fans (or those who might be intrigued!), the piece linked by René Denfeld from The Tennis Island is AWESOME.

The big upset of the day was Laura Siegemund’s 6-1 6-2 victory over the number four seed, Simona Halep. Siegemund produced some sensational stats and is playing so well right now!

Halep had an injury concern coming into the match and took a medical time-out during the second set. I was slightly baffled by her choice to play but I never think it’s fair to make judgments about players’s injuries without knowing the full story. I do hope though that she learns from the first few months of the season where she continued to play through injury/health issues with little success. In my opinion, i’d like to see her rest up and get back to full fitness.

In other results, the other three seeds in action all progressed through to the quarter-finals in straight sets; Carla Suárez Navarro dropped just four games against Anna-Lena Friedsam, Roberta Vinci ousted former Stuttgart champion, Julia Goerges, 6-3 6-4 and Agnieszka Radwanska recovered from a breadstick opening set to defeat Andrea Petkovic in three sets. The German player had a scary moment in the second set with a fall, but thankfully seemed to be OK.

And finally, Karolina Pliskova continued her dominance over Ana Ivanovic with a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory. Pliskova had the heavy strapping on her leg again but played a good match. This match-up seems to be mental for Ivanovic, who looked tense throughout…

And what a quarter-final line-up… six seeds remain and all four quarter-final clashes look super on paper. I’m actually really taken by Laura Siegemund v Roberta Vinci which should be different, but in a really good way!

A huge thanks to Mitch for two guest posts on Moo’s Tennis Blog this week from the Australian Open. The second part covering the women’s semi-finals and final is now up HERE… it’s a super read from a passionate Kerber fan!

And finally, Irina Falconi, last week’s Bogota champion, is raising money for the Ecuador Earthquake relief of which more details can be found below… there’s a great read about her story on the WTA website which is also linked below.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter (@Moo_Tennis) HERE and Facebook HERE.

4 thoughts on “Set Points, Stuttgart Day 4: Kvitova saves 3 match points & survives Niculescu, Siegemund sizzles

  1. Personally I felt Halep should have not played Stuggart,that was her decision I guess,she needs to be 100% fit for the rest of the clay season.

    Liked the fight Petra put up against a tricky opponent in Monica.

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  2. Right now Monica is playing with a lot of guts but, she needs a bit more of a shark bite. She had match points in the Fed Cup game against Petkovic, again against Petra… I guess it’s the limitation of her game. She plays amazingly tricky tennis, but sometimes you need that powerful sprint at the finish line. But all in all, always a pleasure seeing her play as she really challenges her opponents.

    Now, Laura vs. Simona… that was an impressive display in the first set from Laura. She basically couldn’t have done anything better. She was aggressive, smart, she varied her shots so well and when Simona is not at her best – let’s face it, that wasn’t even 60% of her game potential – I was genuinely worried the first set will close down at 6-0 in 20 minutes. Really baffled by Simona’s choice to actually play. Apparently she hasn’t learned that she’s not the kind of player that can ride waves out. She needs to step back, recover and start working.

    Right now, as a fan of hers it’s really hard to get a good read on her and her future. It really feels like for the past year she failed to evolve while everyone else figured out her game and weak spots. Is it stubbornness, illness? Don’t know, but she needs to step out and analyse herself. It’s painful to constantly see – no disrespect here – opponents (sometimes way) below her level getting that “win of their life” against her. If she’d have gone through a series of losses again high level opponents, you’d be a bit worried, but this series of questionable losses is really alarming. Really hope she picks herself up soon as the competition without Maria and with Serena not competing as much these days is really ferocious and if she doesn’t evolve RIGHT NOW, she might never have the chance to.

    On paper, she had a comfortable opponent in Laura, virtually same height, same weight, not a big hitter, not many technical advantages on Laura’s side and yet, when your body lets you down and your mind is somewhere else, an opponent that plays so damn fine as Laura did will take you down without remorse. Great game by Laura and a good year for her, finally.

    The clay season looks so intriguing right now.

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    • I’m surprised that Simona played Stuttgart, particularly after the struggles she had in the first few months playing through her ailments. Obviously we don’t know the full extent of the injury and how she’s feeling but at least now she can rest up for Madrid. I felt like she was starting to come back after IW and Miami but really not sure anymore!

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      • My point exactly: “not sure anymore” and to be true, it really doesn’t feel like a few days rest till Madrid is enough… I hope I’m wrong, but it seems like it’s not just an injury issue, it seems more complex than that.

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