Angelique Kerber battles hard to win enthralling openerStuttgart. A highly-enthusiastic audience and enthralling matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – the capacity 4,400 crowd in the Porsche Arena certainly got their money’s worth on Thursday. They saw the successful return of Naomi Osaka as the new number 1 on Centre Court and an impressive campaign opener for Porsche Team Ger-many’s Angelique Kerber. With the exception of the title-holder Karolina Pliskova, all the favourites have safely negotiated their way to the quarterfinals and are still in the running for the main prize – a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.
Angelique Kerber wins duel against her good friend
A heartfelt embrace at the net and rapturous applause from the stands – a fitting end to the all-German duel between Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber in the Porsche Arena on Thursday evening. The good friends, who both play for Porsche Team Germany, had previously produced a remorseless 74-minute battle won by the reigning Wimbledon champion. The plucky Andrea Petkovic was able to fend off three match points before eventually succumbing to the favourite Angelique Kerber, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
“It was a nervy match at the start but then we both started playing well,” said the 2015 and 2016 Stuttgart winner. “It’s an incredibly nice feeling playing in front of the crowd here. I’m feeling better and better after my illness but am still not fully fit. Considering the short time I had to prepare, I’m playing quite well again.” In the round of the last eight, she will now face Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands. The clay court specialist defeated the Dubai winner Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and in doing so exasperated the Swiss by sending down an almost record-breaking 20 aces. It will not be an easy task for Angelique Kerber who is expecting a spot of overtime: “It’s going to be a long match for sure.”
Naomi Osaka off to a flying start
Two years ago, Naomi Osaka was playing qualifying at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – now she has returned to Stuttgart as the world number 1 and the new superstar in women’s tennis. The Japanese mastered her opening match in the Porsche Arena against Su-Wei Hsieh from Taipei with aplomb even though her opponent’s tricky game regularly caused her problems. However, the 21-year old’s power saw her through to a two-set 6-4, 6-3 win. “The fast court is suited for me. I did what I set out to do today. It’s always difficult to play Su-Wei as you never know what she’s going to do next,” said the double Grand Slam winner who took revenge for her defeat at the Miami Open. “I like to apply the things I’ve learnt from what I did wrong in the past,” she added and was pleasantly surprised by the crowd’s support: “I didn’t know I had so many fans here.”
Next up in the quarterfinals is the Croatian Donna Vekic who ousted Daria Kasatkina (Russia) when winning 6-1, 7-5. The task for Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who was a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victor against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia), is likely to be far more difficult as she will be up against Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian came out on top in the duel between two former world number 1s after beating the Czech title-holder Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Laura Siegemund loses tight battle
For the home-town player, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix came to an end in the round of the last 16, but not before Laura Siegemund and Anastasija Sevastova produced a tense match in which almost every game went to deuce. The Latvian eventu-ally overcame the German 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. On Friday she will face the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the current leader of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen – the official qualification ranking for the prestigious WTA Finals in the emergent high-tech metropolis in south-east China in November.
“It was a tough match with lots of long rallies and I had the luck on my side in the de-cisive moments,” said Anastasija Sevastova, the world No. 13. After being given a wild card, Laura Siegemund started the tournament in a barnstorming fashion when beating the Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko. She however took the second-round defeat calmly – “It was the complete opposite to my first match,” said the 2017 Stuttgart win-ner. “Nothing really went right. I tried everything I could to get into the match, but I lacked consistency. And Anastasija just got better and better, but it was still so nice playing in front of the wonderful crowd here.”
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911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet: fuel consumption combined: 9.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 207 g/km.
The consumption and CO2 emission values were determined in accordance with the new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). The NEDC values derived from this should continue to be specified for the time being. These values cannot be compared to the values determined in accordance with the NEDC measuring procedure used up to now.
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Angelique Kerber battles hard to win enthralling opener