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Stuttgart. Angelique Kerber was the first player to advance to the quarterfinals of the 39th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The title-holder and Australian Open winner overcame Annika Beck, her Porsche Team Germany teammate, after a top class match in the sold-out Porsche Arena on Wednesday. Also into the next round are fellow Germans Andrea Petkovic and Julia Görges, the winner of the 2011 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

Angelique Kerber was forced to work extremely hard before closing out her opening match after two hours nine minutes with an ace. Countrywoman Annika Beck fought courageously and made her Porsche Team Germany teammate pull out all the stops before eventually losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The visibly relieved winner was full of praise for the world No. 41, who above all was in great form in the first set. “Annika played brilliantly today and fought magnificently,” said Angelique Kerber. “I had to give everything I had and I’m really happy to have a day off tomorrow.”

The thrilled crowd applauded Annika Beck all the way off the court. She too was proud of herself after her brilliant performance and had every right to be. “I definitely didn’t lose the match, Angie won it,” said the player who had previously been supported in the Porsche Talent Team Germany set-up before being promoted to Porsche Team Germany. In their second round match, the two Germans showed high class tennis, long rallies full of subtlety and lots of power. In the end however, the experience and confidence of the Grand Slam winner was decisive but only after she had to battle harder that in their last meeting at the Australian Open. In January Angelique Kerber won 6-4, 6-0 against Annika Beck to reach the quarterfinals.

Julia Görges was the first of the Porsche Team Germany quartet to appear on Centre Court in the afternoon. The winner of the 2011 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix faced Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet. “At the start I was a little nervous,” said Julia Görges, “the first match on clay is always a little special. Especially here in Stuttgart.” She soon settled down and ran out a relatively comfortable 6-4, 6-0 winner. For the world number 57, it was the fifth win in her fifth meeting with the Frenchwoman. In the second round, Julia Görges will now meet Roberta Vinci after the Italian defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. When talking about the five-time Grand Slam doubles winner who will retire at the end of the season but before doing so would love to say farewell with a win at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the German said, “You have to be very patient against Roberta and wait for your chances.”

Andrea Petkovic later stepped onto the Porsche Arena’s Centre Court with a bandaged left thigh. Two singles lasting almost six hours last weekend in the Fed Cup World Group play off tie against Romania had left their mark. The German has nevertheless advanced to the next round after coming out on top in the duel against France’s Kristina Mladenovic. The world No. 30 won 6-2, 6-4 against the world No. 28. Speaking after her win, she said, “I feel good and am happy to be back here.” Next up for Andrea Petkovic will be the number one seed Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland). Her record against the world No. 2 is anything but perfect – she has lost all six matches since 2009. “Actually I was always close to beating her,” said Andrea Petkovic, “but in the end I was a long way off. You have to change.”

The line-up for the second round matches has been completed by the Czech Karolina Pliskova (7-6, 4-6, 7-5 against Lucie Safarova) and Monika Niculescu. The Romanian beat Caroline Garcia from France 6-2, 6-2. In the last match of the evening, the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza downed Timea Babos (Hungary) 6-2, 6-2.

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