Stuttgart. Exciting matches, wins for the favourites and a big surprise – the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix also fulfilled all the spectator’s expectations on Tuesday and it was not only the ones in the well-filled Porsche Arena that got their money’s worth. The tennis fans that watched the exclusive show match between superstars Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi in front of the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen were also thrilled. Stuttgart has once again been turned into the tennis capital of Germany by the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
At last year’s tournament, Lucie Safarova played an almost record-breaking three hour 23 minute first round match against Maria Sharapova in the Porsche Arena. This time around however, the Czech Fed Cup winner only needed just over one and a half hours to beat qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko from the Ukraine 7-6, 6-4. “I can still vividly remember the match with Maria,” said Lucie Safarova, the world No. 13, after her match against the No. 140. “For me it was the longest of my career – I unfortunately didn’t win it.” This year Lucie Safarova could get the chance to gain revenge – but only if the two reach the final.
Ana Ivanovic no longer has the opportunity. Last year’s runner-up from Serbia, who pushed the Porsche Brand Ambassador all the way in the 2014 final, lost 7-6, 6-4 to Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia. The world No. 6 had her chances when going 6-3 up in the first set tie-break. She then lost five points in a row, the set and also the match. “If I’d have won the tie-break then perhaps it would have been a totally different tournament,” said Ivanovic, “but I just didn’t take my chances.”
Though a surprise for the spectators it was not one for the 21-year old Garcia. “I’ve already beaten Ana twice this season and things are going really well for me at the moment,” said the world No. 29 from Lyon. In the second round, Garcia will meet Carina Witthöft. Together with Andre Agassi and Angelique Kerber, the Porsche Talent Team Germany player visited the Porsche Development Center in nearby Weissach where, sitting in the passenger’s seat, did a few quick laps of the track.
It was also a day in which most of the favourites progressed even though some had their work cut out. Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, the world No. 10 and the Miami runner-up at the start of April, encountered stiffer opposition than expected when winning 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 against the Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina. The much-improved Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) downed Bethanie Mattek-Sands from the United States 6-4, 7-6 and the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against the Czech Barbora Strycova. Julia Görges and Sabine Lisicki started their tournament campaigns on Tuesday with a win in the doubles. The Porsche Team Germany players beat Darija Jurak from Croatia and Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) 6-3, 3-6, 10-5.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix today went on tour before the day’s most exciting action got underway on Centre Court when superstars Maria Sharapova and Andra Agassi played an exclusive show match in front of the Porsche Museum at the company headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. It was a present from Porsche AG to all the fans unable to watch the ten-nis this week in the Porsche Arena. In beautiful spring weather, spectators packed the surrounds of the court specially built for the Porsche Brand Ambassador to hit some balls with the husband of Steffi Graf. The day previous, the American had enraptured the audience in the Porsche Arena when defeating Thomas Muster in the Berenberg Classics Duel of Legends.
A part of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix programme, the thrill-a-minute encounter produced the wisecrack of the day when a visibly sweaty Thomas Muster said, “If I had a practice part-ner like Steffi at home then I’d also be in better shape.” This time around it was Andre Agassi that brought smiles to the spectators’ faces. Looking at his attractive opponent ahead of his first serve, he commented dryly, “My coaches were always preaching that I should watch the ball – but it’s very difficult today.”
Please note: the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Porsche Team Germany and Porsche Talent Team Germany photo libraries, a part of the Porsche Press Data Bank, is available to all accredited journal-ists at the internet address http://presse.porsche.de. Further contents can be found at www.newsroom.porsche.com, the new Porsche Communication service for journalists, blogger and online Multipliers.