Stuttgart. It was an exciting weekend for both Porsche Team Germany and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The players captained by Barbara Rittner overcame hosts Romania 4-1 in the Fed Cup after putting on an excellent performance to ensure they keep their place in the World Group next year. Spectators at the long-running Stuttgart tournament, where the qualifying second round was on the menu, were also party to exciting and top class matches. Amongst the eight players that will be battling on Monday for one of the four remaining main draw berths are Porsche Team Germany’s Carina Witthöft and countrywoman Laura Siegemund.
The foundation for Porsche Team Germany’s success in Romania was laid by Angelique Kerber. Playing in front of another capacity 7,500 crowd in the Sala Polivalenta Arena, the Porsche Brand Ambassador and Australian Open winner performed magnificently to beat the Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep in two straight sets (6-2, 6-2) in only 66 minutes. Her second win in her second match secured Porsche Team Germany the hoped-for 2-1 lead. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Angelique Kerber could meet Simona Halep once again – but only in the final.
In the second rubber, Andrea Petkovic initially found going very tough against Monica Niculescu. She lost the first set without getting on the scoreboard (6-0). Despite the ignominy, the German never gave up and dug deep to fight her way back into the match to eventually end up a 0-6, 7-6, 6-3 winner. With the score at 3-1 in Porsche Team Germany’s favour, the tie was decided. The closing doubles was of no great importance. The win in Cluj means Barbara Rittner’s team will be competing along with the top eight nations in the World Group next year.
There will be a reunion with most of the Fed Cup players right away in the Porsche Arena on Monday evening at the official opening of the 39th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Also in with good chance of being a part of the ceremony on the Centre-Court when the players are presented are Carina Witthöft, a Porsche Team Germany member, and Laura Siegemund. Both require just one more win in the final round of qualifying to book a main draw ticket.
On Sunday, Carina Witthöft defeated Porsche Talent Team Germany’s Katharina Gerlach 6-0, 7-5 and will now face Croatian Ana Konjuh. Laura Siegemund beat the Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3, 7-5. In the qualifying final, the German will take on Polona Hercog. The Slovenian had previously thwarted the main draw dreams of Antonia Lottner from Porsche Talent Team Germany. The player from the local TEC Waldau Stuttgart club lost 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 against the world No. 93. The destination of the two remaining places in the tournament proper will be decided in the matches between the Italian Camila Giorgi and Louisa Chirico from the USA and Oceane Dodin from France against the Czech Kristyna Pliskova.
On Monday, the tournament will pick up speed on the Centre Court. In the afternoon, Anna-Lena Friedsam from Porsche Talent Team Germany will face England’s Johanna Konta. Awaiting the spectators ahead of the presentation of the players on Centre Court at 8.00 pm and the following first round encounter between Porsche Team Germany’s and the Hungarian Timea Babos, are sporting and cultural highlights. The world famous Stuttgart Ballet will transform Centre Court into a big stage and perform “PS”, a piece choreographed by Katarzyna Kozielska, at 6.00 pm. The Berenberg Classics will see Michael Stich and Michael Chang face off in the traditional “Duel of Legends”.
The former Grand Slam winners will have warmed up in what is sure to be an interesting exhibition doubles which will begin at 5.30 pm: Michael Stich will be assisted by the former Formula 1 star and Porsche works driver Mark Webber, who won the 2015 FIA Endurance World Championship in a Porsche. Supporting Michael Chang will be a player who is sure to be in top form – Angelique Kerber.
The exciting weekend will therefore be followed by a stunning start to the 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Images in the Porsche Newsroom (http://newsroom.porsche.com) and for accredited journalists in the Porsche press database (https://presse.porsche.de)