Stuttgart. Angelique Kerber has started her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix campaign with win. The Porsche Team Germany player won her opening match 6-2, 7-5 against American Alexa Glatch in the filled-to-capacity Porsche Arena. She will now meet title holder Maria Sharapova in a match many spectators were hoping to see in the final of the long-standing tournament in Stuttgart.
“Our matches have always been really tight. I’ll have to play very well right from the start if I want to have a chance,” said Angelique Kerber, who defeated the Russian when they last played each other in the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2014. In the Porsche Arena however, Maria Sharapova will be a tough nut to crack: in winning every one of her 13 matches she has played in Stuttgart, the current world No. 2 has won the tournament in each of the past three years. “A great record,” said Angelique Kerber. “I’ll be doing my very best to try and stop the series. Facing such a strong player is always very motivating for me.”
Her Porsche Team Germany teammates were not quite so successful. Julia Görges was unable to take advantage of three match points against the 18-year old Swiss Belinda Bencic – the youngest player in the main draw field – and eventually lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in a contest that lasted two hours 40. Sabine Lisicki’s appearance at the tournament was however much shorter lived. Of all places at her home tournament, the German suffered one of the darkest hours of her successful career and lost 6-0, 6-0 in only one hour three minutes against the Kazakh Zarina Diyas.
“Though I was nervous, I was mentally stronger on the important shots,” said Belinda Bencic who closed out the match on her first match point for a berth in the last 16. Julia Görges did not want to put the defeat down to her failure to convert the match points. “I unfortunately lost my rhythm after the first set,” said the winner of the 2011 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “If it hadn’t had happened then I’d have won in two.”
Sabine Lisicki has never before in her career lost 6-0, 6-0 and the 2013 Wimbledon runner-up was accordingly disappointed after the bitter defeat. “I had a total blackout,” she said. “I can’t explain what happened out there today. At the start I was hoping to have a completely different day and am simply very sad.” The last love and love match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix occurred in 2007 when Serena Williams overcame the Czech Zuzana Ondraskova. Zarina Diyas will now meet Italian Sara Errani in the second round. The world No. 15 beat the Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6 (8), 6-4. In the last match of the day, the No. 2 seed Simona Halep from Romania beat the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
As for the doubles, Antonia Lottner and Carina Witthöft have been knocked out. The Porsche Talent Team Germany players lost 6-3, 6-3 against the No. 2 seeds Caroline Garcia (France) and Katarina Srebotnik (Slovenia). Wednesday also marked the end of the road in Stuttgart for Martina Hingis. Playing alongside Indian Sania Mirza, the former world No. 1 and four-time Porsche Tennis Grand Prix winner was defeated 6-3, 6-3 by the Croatian Petra Martic and Stephanie Vogt from Liechtenstein.
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