A major upset has rocked the Porsche Arena on Thursday, as three-time Porsche Tennis Grand Prix champion Maria Sharapova suffered defeat in Stuttgart for the very first time.
Sharapova was bested by Angelique Kerber, who managed to pull off a stunning three-set victory over the Russian five-time slam champion. In a match that would have been worthy of being the tournament’s final, Kerber overcome a lost first set, rallying back with the help of the crowd that pushed the German along to one of her biggest wins of the season.
Coming off an injury that prevented her from competing in the Fed Cup ahead of the Stuttgart week, Sharapova started her run for a fourth consecutive Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title with limited preparation, a fact that showed during the intense match, as the Russian wasn’t her usual sharp self that has made her very hard to beat on clay in recent years.
Today’s loss ends a remarkable winning streak. Sharapova had never lost a match at the Tennis Grand Prix ever since playing the event for the first time in 2012.
Despite losing her first match on clay this season, Sharapova’s spirits seemed to be very much intact in the post-match press conference. The tennis superstar joked about at least not having to make room for yet another Porsche in her garage. This year the 911 sports car will go to a different winner for the first time since 2011, when Julia Görges won the Tennis Grand Prix.
Sharapova isn’t the only top-seed who failed to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal stage. Petra Kvitova is out of the tournament as well, following a loss against Madison Brengle in straight sets. The Czech Wimbledon champion played her first WTA tour match since Dubai in February, following her month-long hiatus due to exhaustion.
Two top seeds remain as Caroline Wozniacki & Simona Halep are still in the tournament and due to play their quarterfinals on Friday, joined by Ekaterina Makarova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Sara Errani, Madison Brengle & Caroline Garcia.