Stuttgart. The spectators in the Porsche Arena celebrated the first winner at the 42nd Porsche Tennis Grand Prix: on Monday evening, Jelena Ostapenko won the Turkish Airlines Tiebreak which thrilled the fans on the first day of the tournament proper with an attractive mixture of sport and show. After beating the Swiss Belinda Bencic in the final, she secured herself one million bonus miles from Turkish Airlines.
After the thrilling tournament in tournament and the qualifying finals, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will pick up pace on Tuesday when the first main draw singles matches are played.
Anna-Lena Friedsam books a main draw ticket
In the qualifying tournament by virtue of a wild card, she is now in the main draw: Porsche Team Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam won her qualifying final 6-4, 6-4 against the Czech Tereza Smitkova and has thus completed a German quintet at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. ‟I’m so happy to have made it to the main draw at this fantastic tournament,” said the 25-year old who plays in the top German league for the local TEC Waldau Stuttgart club. ‟Immediately in the year’s first tournaments, I felt I was in pretty good form after my long injury break. Now I want to go as far as I possibly can.” It will not be easy as she will face Kiki Bertens, the world No. 7 from the Netherlands, in her opening match on Tuesday.
The second German hope in the qualifying finals, Anna Zaja, however narrowly missed out on a place in the main draw. After winning the first set 6-1 and losing the second by the same score, she was 5-2 up in the decider. However, the Spaniard fought her way back to eventually win the enthralling match in the tiebreak. She is now Andrea Petkovic’s opponent in the first round of the tournament proper. Also in the main draw are Mandy Minella (Luxembourg), who beat Vera Zvonareva (Russia) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, and Greet Minnen (Belgium), who overcame Giulia Gatto-Monticone (Italy) 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2.
Turkish Airlines Tiebreak: first tournament highlight
Monday evening’s Turkish Airlines Tiebreak provided the first highlight at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix’s. Split up into two groups for the show event, the top players Qiang Wang (China), Donna Vekic (Croatia), Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia), Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) plus the Germans Laura Siegemund and Mona Barthel served up a spectacular, action-packed contest. ‟Coached” and cheered on by Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey, a former Porsche racing driver, and Porsche Brand Ambassador and Endurance World Champion Mark Webber, the six players treated the large crowd in the Porsche Arena to hard-fought and entertaining champion tiebreaks. An interested spectator courtside was the German football World Cup winner Sami Khedira, ambassador of the Porsche ‟Turbo für Talente” youth programme.
‟Playing in the Porsche Arena gives you strength”
The Porsche Team Germany players assured of a place in the main draw at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix all looked forward on Monday to the upcoming tournament week. Angelique Kerber, who was ill in the last fortnight and as a result missed the Fed Cup victory in Latvia, is on the way to recovery. ‟I’m gradually feeling better and better,” said the upbeat two-time Stuttgart winner. She is doing everything she possibly can in practice in order to play her home event: ‟If it’d been another tournament, I’m not sure whether I’d have been fit in time.” Julia Görges is also looking forward to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix: ‟I won my first big title here in 2011. It’s like coming back home.” The same also applies to the local hero and 2017 winner Laura Siegemund, who said ‟I love playing in the Porsche Arena. It gives you strength. The people come to see me play here.”
Andrea Petkovic was the first Porsche Team Germany player to appear in a main draw match. Together with her doubles partner Mandy Minella from Luxembourg, she advanced to the next round with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win against Makoto Ninomiya (Japan) and Abigail Spears (USA).
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