Stuttgart. The last four Porsche Tennis Grand Prix main draw berths will be issued in the qualifying finals on Monday, and two German players have a good chance of progressing. Local heroes Anna Zaja and Anna-Lena Friedsam both produced impressive performances when advancing on Sunday.
Teammates go toe-to-toe
Returning to the game after a long injury, Anna Lena Friedsam was only in the qualifying draw after being given a wild card. Now the Porsche Team Germany player is a single win away from a main draw ticket. On Sunday, she defeated her teammate Antonia Lottner in an enthralling three-setter 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(1). The first set was won comfortably by Friedsam but Lottner came back to secure the second in equally convincing fashion. There was then little choose between the two in the third which went to a tiebreak that Friedsam, who reached the last 16 of the long-standing tournament in 2016, clinched after a match lasting almost two hours. The 25-year old will now face Tereza Smitkova (Czech Republic) who won 7-6(6), 6-3 against Jessika Ponchet (France).
Anna Zaja has also battled her way to the qualifying finals. Playing impressive tennis, she overcame Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-3, 7-5. The 27-year old can now only be stopped on the way to the main draw by Sara Sorribes Tormo. The Spaniard encountered little trouble in defeating Ekaterine Gorgodze (Georgia) 6-2, 6-2.
Another player with the main draw firmly in her sights is Vera Zvonareva. Once ranked in the Top 10, the Russian was a clear 6-2, 6-1 winner against Isabella Shinikova (Bulgaria). She will now face Mandy Minella for a place amongst the top 28 players in Stuttgart. The Luxembourger beat Anna Kalinskaya (Russia) 7-5, 6-1. The fourth final will be contested by Giulia Gatto-Monticone (Italy) and Greet Minnen (Belgium). Gatto-Monticone downed Magdalena Frech (Poland) 6-4, 6-4 whilst Minnen progressed at the expense of Anna Blinkova (Russia) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Angelique Kerber: first practice session in the Porsche Arena
The Porsche Brand Ambassador Angelique Kerber is on the road to recovery. After missing the Fed Cup over the weekend because of illness, the reigning Wimbledon champion and two-time Stuttgart winner absolved her first practice session on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena early on Sunday evening.
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