Friday was quarter-finals day at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and once again, this is a snappy round-up of results as I was unable to watch much tennis today. In the first match of the day, Maria Sharapova enjoyed a third straight sets win in a row, fending off an in-form, Anett Kontaveit, 6-3 6-4. Sharapova failed to serve out the match but managed to break for the win in a final lengthy deuce game.
Sharapova’s stats were again decent – 25 winners to 12 unforced errors!
Sharapova’s press conference is linked below… the penultimate question from a British journalist 😂
Sharapova will play Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals after the Frenchwoman continued her excellent week and year with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Carla Suárez Navarro.
Sharapova vs. Mladenovic will be a fascinating semi-final for many reasons! When the whole Sharapova saga began, Mladenovic was one of the few players to speak out against the Russian player. Even after what Sharapova said in her press conference, I think this will be a fiercely contested match.
No doubt, it will be Sharapova’s toughest test so far and i’d be surprised if Mladenovic doesn’t get at least a set. It will be a huge occasion though for the Frenchwoman so i’m intrigued to see if she can hold her nerve. Super excited about watching tomorrow… who you got?
In the match of the day and perhaps the tournament, Laura Siegemund continued her fabulous form in Stuttgart with a 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3 upset win of the number two seed, Karolina Pliskova. The match lasted three hours and nine minutes and I killed my data to watch the second set whilst travelling home 😂.
I thought the standard at the end of the second set was stunning. Pliskova produced some peak, aggressive form to win seven points in a row from 5-5. Siegemund defended admirably to save a trio of set points before Pliskova eventually levelled up proceedings. The Czech player had had two set points when serving for the first set at *5-3.
After seeing Pliskova step it up to win the second set, I thought it was a magnificent effort from Siegemund to win in three sets. I’ve had issues with Siegemund and some of her gamesmanship tactics but I cannot deny she is super fun to watch on clay. Her game is so dynamic and refreshing, and she is such an immense competitor.
The Stuttgart clay is perfect for her game and her record at this tournament over the past two years has been extraordinary – she has won ten matches, nine in straight sets (the win over Pliskova was her first three set win in Stuttgart). Furthermore, five of her six top ten (completed) wins on tour have come in Stuttgart.
In the final match of the day, Simona Halep swiftly progressed past Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3 6-1 in just 59 minutes! I like how Halep has quietly crept through the draw with the attention mostly focused elsewhere. In the snippets I saw of the match, she was moving beautifully and playing aggressively, continuing on from her superb win over Johanna Konta in Fed Cup last weekend.
So the second semi-final will be a rematch between Halep and Siegemund – the pair played last year in Stuttgart with Siegemund winning, 6-1 6-2. Halep was struggling with an injury in Stuttgart last year. Siegemund has played two gruelling matches in two days; however, it was a similar case in Charleston earlier this year where she demonstrated her fitness to keep coming back each day. Halep has looked superb this week but i’m interested to see whether she can maintain this level against an opponent that is likely going to throw the kitchen sink of variety at her on court and then some.
Again, I could see this one going either way. Siegemund has this fearlessness about her that shines bright in Stuttgart; however, my hunch is that a rejuvenated Halep will rise to the occasion.
And finally, the first player announcements for the Aegon International in Eastbourne have been unveiled – no surprises so far!