Stuttgart. The opening day of the 40th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix served up numerous highlights – the drawing of the main draw for the long-standing Stuttgart tournament produced a whole host of exciting encounters, and the spectators were treated to thrilling first round encounters in qualifying in which five German players have progressed to the next stage. Not to forget – in the Fed Cup World Group play-off taking place parallel to the start of the tournament, Porsche Team Germany went 2-0 up against Ukraine,
In the opening rubber lasting two hours and two minutes, Julia Görges defeated Elina Svitolina, the world No. 13, in a tough three-setter 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to put the team captained by Barbara Rittner 1-0 in the lead. “I was very nervous, had cold hands and goose bumps. Fed Cup is always something quite special,” said Julia Görges who got to grips with her nerves after losing the first set to eventually run out the winner. Following on, the world No. 1 Angelique Kerber was a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 winner against Lesia Tsurenko. “I’m so happy to be back in Stuttgart,” said the Porsche Brand Ambassador. “After a rather moderate start to the year, I’m back playing very good tennis.” Porsche Team Germany now only needs a single point from a possible three matches on Sunday to retain their place in the World Group in 2018.
The draw for the first round of the tournament proper has handed the title-holder a tough opening match – Angelique Kerber will face the winner of the duel between the Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni from Croatia. “The draw has not been kind to Angie,” commented Anke Huber, the Operating Tournament Director of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Laura Siegemund, the second German in the main draw, will face Shuai Zhang in the first round. The Stuttgart resident won her only previous match against the Chinese at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. “On clay, the draw is doable for Laura,” said Anke Huber. Maria Sharapova’s opening match also appears doable. The three-time winner of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will be up against the Italian Roberta Vinci on her return to the professional tour on Wednesday. The two matches they have played against each other both ended in easy victories for the Russian in 2007 and 2012 - Vinci only managed to win a total of four games. Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova, who have dominated the tournament since 2012, can only go head to head in the semi-finals.
In qualifying, Porsche Talent Team Germany’s Antonia Lottner won her opening match against the Columbian Mariana Duque-Marino 7-5, 1-6, 6-4. Also in the second round is her teammate Katharina Hobgarski. She beat the Japanese Risa Ozaki 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Anna Zaja from the local TEC Waldau club has also booked a place in the next round after beating the Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-3. She has been joined by fellow German Dinah Pfizenmaier who overcame the Italian Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. In the final match of the day, Tamara Korpatsch (Germany) defeated the Romanian Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-1.