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Stuttgart. The Stuttgart tennis week full of superlatives got underway in front of a capacity 4,500 crowd in the Porsche Arena on Saturday. In the focus at the 41st edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix were exciting qualifying matches and the drawing of the main draw which produced attractive encounters right away in the first round. In the Fed Cup semi-final, Porsche Team Germany will attempt to turn the tie against the Czech Republic around on Sunday.

Qualifying – four Germans into the next round
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix began in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle with the first-round matches in qualifying. Lena Rueffer from Porsche Talent Team Germany faced the Spaniard Paula Badosa Gibert and eventually came on top 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. Teammate Anna Gabric however only required two sets to beat the Hungarian Fanny Stollar 7-5, 7-6(4). Katharina Gerlach, a member of Porsche Talent Team Germany, was defeated by Su-Wei Hsieh (Chinese Taipei). In the all-German duel between Anna Zaja and Katharina Hobgarski, the former advanced to the next round after a 6-4, 6-4 win. Porsche Team Germany’s Carina Witthöft overcame the Slovakian Michaela Honcova 6-0, 6-1. Julia Middendorf from Porsche Junior Team put on a brave show in her debut on the big tennis stage but lost 6-1, 6-2 to Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk. German Tamara Korpatsch also failed to progress after suffering a 6-1, 7-6 (5) loss to Conny Perrin (Switzerland).

The draw – Laura Siegemund to meet Barbara Strycova
Held in the Porsche Kids’ World on Saturday afternoon, the draw for the first round of the tournament proper has increased expectancy amongst tennis fans. Angelique Kerber’s match against Petra Kvitova is likely to promises to be a blockbuster, especially as the two are due to meet each other in the Fed Cup on Sunday. Title-holder Laura Siegemund will be up against Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic). Given a wild card for the first time at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Antonia Lottner from Porsche Talent Team Germany has been drawn against a qualifier whilst fellow German Julia Görges can look forward to an encounter with Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova. Two potentially enthralling encounters are the all-American duel between Coco Vandeweghe and the US Open champion Sloane Stephens and the contest between the three-time Stuttgart winner Maria Sharapova and the strong Frenchwoman Carolina Garcia. The four top seeds Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and Jelena Ostapenko all have first round byes.

Fed Cup – Porsche Team Germany not giving up
In the Fed Cup semifinal, Porsche Team Germany is 2-0 in arrears after the first day of their tie against the Czech Republic. Julia Görges lost her opening match 6-3, 6-2 against Petra Kvitova whilst Angelique Kerber went down 7-5, 6-3 against Karolina Pliskova. The two-time winner of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix however has no thoughts of giving up saying, “We’re still in with a chance, perhaps tomorrow will be a good day for us.”

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