Wowsers… The 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final in Stuttgart will be an all-German affair between the defending champion, Angelique Kerber and the unseeded, Laura Siegemund.
In one of the feel-good fairytale runs of the year so far, Siegemund is into her first WTA final on home soil. The world number 71 has won SEVEN matches, coming through three rounds of qualifying and winning four main draw matches. Siegemund has notched up three consecutive top ten wins and has yet to drop a set this week!
QR1: Siegemund d. Smitkova, 6-1 6-4 (71 minutes)
QR2: Siegemund d. Karatantcheva, 6-3 7-5 (99 minutes)
QR3: Siegemund d. Hercog, 6-4 6-3 (101 minutes)
R1: Siegemund d. Pavlyuchenkova, 6-0 7-5 (83 minutes)
R2: Siegemund d. Halep, 6-1 6-2 (69 minutes)
QF: Siegemund d. Vinci, 6-1 6-4 (76 minutes)
SF: Siegemund d. Radwanska, 6-4 6-2 (83 minutes)
Siegemund has been in dazzling form all week; she continued in much the same vein against the world number two, Radwanska to come away with a stunning win. Playing with aggression and bucket loads of variety, Siegemund’s ability to continually play different shots and spins seemed to completely flummox Radwanska. Siegemund hit so many drop shots, a surprisingly successful play against someone as quick and tactically astute as Radwanska. Add to that, Siegemund didn’t waver at all serving out both sets and showing no signs of nerves.
It was a breathtaking performance from Siegemund who marches into Sunday’s final with a wealth of confidence behind her. The 28-year-old has had a super year up till now; she reached the quarter-finals in her last tournament in Charleston, but has taken her game to a completely new level in Stuttgart.
Kerber reached her second consecutive final in Stuttgart, beating Petra Kvitova, 6-4 4-6 6-2 in an entertaining semi-final. While she didn’t match the lofty heights of her last two performances where she hit a combined 81 winners, this was another solid showing from Kerber. She raced out into a *4-1 first set lead, mostly thanks to Kvitova who dropped her second service game with three consecutive double faults. Kerber faced break points in her first four service games but served out the set at *5-4 to love.
The second set went with serve until Kerber played a loose game at *4-5 with scoreboard pressure. It was an excellent set of tennis; there was no drama, but it was high quality hitting from both. In particular, Kvitova played as stable a set as you’re likely to see from her, finishing with 15 winners to 7 unforced errors. After both went off the court at the end of the second set, the Czech player returned with a poor opening service game as Kerber refocused to go up a break. Kvitova came back into contention, breaking back to 2-2 with two of the best points of the match.
However, Kvitova was unable to hold her serve in the next game as Kerber produced an incredible get on break point to put the ball back in court with Kvitova’s next shot going wide. The third set was bubbling up very nicely, but simmered from there on with Kerber winning the last four games of the match.
Head-to-head record: This will be the first time that Kerber and Siegemund have played each other on the WTA tour.
Final thoughts: Siegemund will be bidding for her fourth consecutive top ten win… the mind boggles! One of the aspects of Siegemund’s run that has been so impressive is her fearlessness, showing no signs of doubt or nerves in her stampede through the draw. She will still go into this final as the underdog against Kerber and that will probably be of benefit to her. Kerber’s looked great this week but she has played no-one like Siegemund.
The question will be whether Siegemund has enough left in the tank and whether she can keep this form up… while she hasn’t played any long matches, the week will still have taken its toll mentally. Her serving stats were amazing against Radwanska with 90% first serves in… it will be tough to come close to that. The final is a big step-up from the semi-final in terms of the occasion but anything is possible based on the way she has elevated her game this week.
It’s going to be a fascinating final… i’m intrigued to see how it plays out in front of the home crowd and whether the support will be even. While I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Siegemund does keep her run going, i’m leaning towards Kerber in three sets.