Following Petra Kvitova‘s less than stellar performance last night, Thursday saw the top seeds in action at the 2014 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
#1 seed Agnieszka Radwanska got Thursday’s action underway, facing off against Roberta Vinci. The Italian was able to give the world #3 some trouble in the first set, but the match swiftly turned in the Pole’s favor as it went into the second set, securing a straight set win for Radwanska.
Thursday also marked the return of Maria Sharapova as the reigning two-time Stuttgart champion had to play her second match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The last duel of the Russians at the Open GDF Suez surprisingly ended in favor of Pavlyuchenkova but despite Sharapova having played a 3 1/2 hour match on Tuesday, the match turned out to be less competitive that spectators hoped for as Sharapova is slowly but steadily finding her legendary Stuttgart groove, advancing in straight sets.
While Sharapova’s matches are always a guarantee for a packed arena in Stuttgart, the crowd’s favorite match of the day was undoubtedly the second round clash between Julia Görges & Ana Ivanovic. The match did more than meet people’s expectations, turning into a thrilling three-setter with a commanding performance from Görges in the first set and an intensely fought third set.
Having the crowd on her side, the 2011 Stuttgart champ fought hard to stay in the match, but Ivanovic delivered a flawless performance during key moments of the game, a fact her opponent was happy to admit later on. “It’s impressive to see how she can step up her level all of a sudden, that’s the reason she’s ranked where she’s at,” Görges commented afterwards.
The day got even worse for the local crowd when Angelique Kerber failed to advance against Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro. Like fellow Fed Cup team mate Andrea Petkovic, the traveling stress seemed to have crept up on last year’s Stuttgart semi-finalist. The crowd tried to drag Kerber along but aside from brief flashes of hope, Kerber never managed to turn the match around, making her the final German player in the draw to drop out of the tournament.
“I’ve tried to give it 100% and use up my final reserves today, the crowd was incredible and tried to push me along as well. It’s unfortunate for the tournament, for us and the fans but that’s tennis,” Kerber commented on the ill-fate of the German players this week.
Simona Halep & Svetlana Kuznetsova finished off Thursday’s singles action in the Porsche Arena. Like Kerber and Kvitova, Halep surprisingly failed to live up to her seeding, crashing out in two sets against the two-time Russian Stuttgart champ.