Stuttgart. None of the former Stuttgart winners will be involved in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarterfinals on Friday. After Julia Görges and Maria Sharapova departed the tournament in the first round, the 41st edition of the long-standing Stuttgart tournament also ended early for Laura Siegemund and Angelique Kerber.
“I’m sad and disappointed. I tried everything, wanted to fight because this tournament with its magnificent crowd is very dear to me. But it just wasn’t to be,” said Angelique Kerber after her match on Thursday against the Estonian Anett Kontaveit. After losing the first set to love, she was forced to retire when 2-0 down in the second. “Though I had a niggle in my thigh over the past few days, after my bad start in the Fed Cup loss, I so hoped that this week in Stuttgart would end on a high note. But it’s unfortunately not going to happen.” Another player unable to finish her match was the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. After losing the first set 7-5, the Wimbledon champion was unable to continue after suffering a lower back injury.
For Laura Siegemund, the second round in the Porsche Arena was a case of played well but defeated. The local hero’s dream of a successful title defence came to an end in her match against the American Coco Vandeweghe (USA). She once again thrilled the crowd with her passionate style of play. Even the loss of the first set did nothing to unsettle her. Quite the opposite as the Porsche Team Germany player fought back to win the second. Loudly backed by the excited crowd, she came close to advancing to the quarterfinals but was eventually beaten 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 by the world No. 16, who had eliminated US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the previous round.
“Despite being defeated, I’m very satisfied with my performance. I’m only disappointed that I’m not able to play more matches in front of this wonderful tournament’s fabulous crowd,” said the Stuttgart resident who after a serious injury has only recently returned to the WTA Tour. “For me personally, it’s a good sign that I’m disappointed after such a defeat and I’m not just shrugging my shoulders. I played well for long periods today, but Coco had the better ideas in the key moments.”
Marta Kostyuk, the highly talented 15-year old from Ukraine once again excited the Stuttgart spectators with enthralling tennis. Against Caroline Garcia, she made life hard for her French opponent before losing narrowly 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. “I didn’t play a good match today. I battled hard and eventually won but I know I have to improve,” said the Frenchwoman who in the first round downed Maria Sharapova. “Playing Marta was not easy. She’s new on the Tour and there’s no information about her which is why I didn’t really know what to expect. She’s definitely got a great future ahead of her.” Caroline Garcia’s quarterfinal opponent will be Elina Svitolina. The world No. 4 from the Ukraine profited from the Czech Marketa Vondrousova’s retirement due to a thigh injury with the score at 3-2 in her favour in the third set. Caroline Garcia immediately realised what was awaiting her, “It’s going to be a real battle.”
Five Top players in quarterfinals
Two other Top 10 players also progressed at the expense of qualifiers to join the world No. 1 Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Karolina Pliskova, the world No. 6 from the Czech Republic, lived up to her status as the favourite by beating the Russian Veronika Kudermetova 7-6(4), 6-3. Another favourite to progress was the world No. 5 Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia after registering her first ever main draw singles win at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix when defeating Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) 6-3, 6-0. A qualifier herself last year, she however lost in the first round before managing to win the doubles with the American Raquel Atawo. Another title followed a few weeks later when she sensationally celebrated her first Grand Slam win in Paris. She hopes to go a long way this time around in Stuttgart, pronouncing cheekily, “I’m getting more and more confident.”
The Latvian however has missed out this year on a semifinal place in the doubles. Paired with Olga Savchuk (Ukraine), she lost 6-1, 7-6 (10) to Anna-Lena Grönefeld, Porsche Team Germany, and her American partner Raquel Atawo.
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