German “Fräuleinwunder” in the Porsche Arena
Stuttgart. Four German players in the last eight at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – what Andrea Petkovic, Sabine Lisicki, Kristina Barrois and Julia Görges achieved on Wednesday in front of 4,500 in a sold-out Porsche Arena was last done in 1984, when Steffi Graf, Claudia Kohde, Eva Pfaff and Bettina Bunge were in the quarterfinals. As Julia Görges will face Sabine Lisicki on Thursday, it means one German player will definitely go through to the semifinals.
There were many highlights in the Porsche Arena on Wednesday. One was the continuation of Andrea Petkovic’s winning streak. The world No. 19 beat, as she did in Miami, the number eight Jelena Jankovic from Serbia after three hard-fought sets 3-6, 6-1 6-3. In the quarterfinals on Thursday, she will now play the world No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark, who brushed aside Zuzana Kucova (Slovakiai) 6-1, 6-2. “I feel like a 95-year-old,” said the 23-year-old Andrea Petkovic after the match that lasted over two hours. “I ran 15 kilometres against Jelena and against Caroline it’ll be 20.” Nevertheless “Petko” feels she has a “bit of a chance with the fantastic crowd behind. Even though Caroline doesn’t give you anything and you have to work very hard to win every point.”
The upset of the day was provided without doubt by Kristina Barrois. The 30-year-old from the local TEC Waldau Stuttgart club, the world No. 79, beat the Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-2. In winning against the No. 12 on Wednesday morning, she became the first German to reach the quarterfinals of the long-standing tournament in Stuttgart since Anke Huber in 2001. “It’s one of the biggest wins of my career,” she said, “comparable only to getting to the final in Strasbourg against Maria Scharapova a year ago.” Her opponent in the quarters will be the Pole Agnieszka Radwanska. The world No. 14 had, like in Miami, little trouble in dispatching Francesca Schiavone (Italy), the 2010 French Open winner, 6-1, 6-3. When asked about Kristina Barrois, she could only say, “Barrois? I’ve got no idea whether I’ve played her before or not.”
Another to cause a sensation was Sabine Lisicki when she overcame the Chinese Na Li. 149 ranking positions separate Sabine Lisicki (Germany) in the world rankings from the Australian Open runner-up. But on Wednesday it was the world No. 155 that, cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd, was the better player in the encounter against the number 6. She won in two straight sets 6-4, 7-5. “My level of play is naturally better than my 155 ranking.” She continued: “I’m really happy to, in front of the great crowd here, have played consistently in two matches in succession.” In the quarterfinals she will now meet Julia Görges. Though the 22-year-old German lost the first set against Victoria Azarenka 6-4, her opponent from Belarus had to retire with a painful shoulder injury. It meant the German quartet was now complete.
The fifth day had begun with an all-Russian affair. In her opening match, Vera Zvonareva, the world No. 3, had to play her Russian Fed Cup teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenko for the very first time. The top player had greater difficulties than expected with the youngest participant in the field. In the end she did enough to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the quarterfinals she will meet Samantha Stosur. The Australian, who is world ranked 7 and the runner-up at the last year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, defeated Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.