Stuttgart. In a hard-fought encounter with sensational rallies, Angelique Kerber beat Maria Sharapova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. She duly inflicted the first ever defeat on the Russian at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix after a three-year winning streak. The spectators in the filled-to-capacity Porsche Arena were out of their seats cheering the moment the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix player converted her second match point after two hours 27 minutes. They applauded the beaten title-holder off the court and then celebrated the victor for minutes on end. The disbelieving look on Angelique’s Kerber’s face soon changed to one of pure joy. “It was one of those wins for which you practice the whole year round,” said the 27-year old German. “Thanks for the fantastic support. I’ve got goose bumps all over.”
The meeting with the Porsche Brand Ambassador was a real tennis thriller. Maria Sharapova, the world No. 2, had won the tournament in each of the past three years. In the first set, everything looked to be going to form and the favourite would run out a comfortable winner. The five-time Grand Slam winner broke her German opponent three times and the long rallies generally went her way. Angelique Kerber never gave up and with the score at 5-5 in the second she broke the Russian to go 6-5 up. “I kept believing in myself and fought for every single point,” said Angelique Kerber. “It was the reason why I was able to turn the match around.”
After winning the second set, Angelique Kerber became more and more confident and even started going for the most difficult shots. Maria Sharapova showed nerves for the first time since she has been playing in Stuttgart. When the Porsche Team Germany player broke serve for the second time to go 4-1 up, the otherwise so cool, clam and collected Russian suddenly started making mistakes. She later said, “Matches can suddenly be turned on their heads on clay. I didn’t play badly but wasn’t aggressive enough. Angie was moving superbly today.” In the quarterfinal on Friday, Angelique Kerber will meet Russian Ekaterina Makarova, one of the most improved players on the WTA Tour.
Carina Witthöft however failed to progress to the last eight. Despite the loss, the Porsche Talent Team Germany player enjoyed her appearance at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “I’ve played two good matches in the main draw and have unfortunately lost the second,” she said and will, alongside her win in the first round, take away some good ideas as to what she can work on. “I had my chances,” she said,” but when I had Garcia in the corners, I lacked the final shot to wrap up the point.”
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is surprisingly out of the tournament. The world No. 4 lost 6-3, 7-6 (2) against Madison Brengle from the USA. After beating a top 10 player for the first time in her career, the American, who is world ranked No. 43, will face Caroline Garcia. One player to gain a comfortable passage into the quarterfinal was Sara Errani. The Italian beat Kazakh Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-1 and will now meet the No. 2 seed Simona Halep from Romania. More exciting than the score suggests was the match between Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) and Caroline Wozniacki. Number 5 in the WTA world rankings, the Dane won 7-6 (5), 6-1. Also into the quarterfinal is Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard beat the 18-year old Swiss Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-6 (1).
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