Garbine Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇪🇸 (2) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

The pick of the second round matches on Thursday from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix sees the second seeded Garbine Muguruza kick-start her Stuttgart campaign with a potentially difficult clash against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Garbine Muguruza arrives in Stuttgart on a high having helped guide Spain to a 3-0 victory over Paraguay in their Fed Cup world group 2 playoff and having won the title in Monterrey prior to that. Muguruza also holds a 3-0 H2H record over Pavlyuchenkova, all signs seemingly point to a Muguruza win.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Muguruza seems to finally be working her way into form in 2018. It was in Monterrey where Muguruza committed to building her confidence at the International level, dropping just 1 set on route to the title. More recently Muguruza was involved in Spain’s Fed Cup world group 2 playoff victory over Paraguay. The reigning Wimbledon champion was surprisingly pushed all the way in her first match with Montserrat Gonzalez before claiming a straight set win over Veronica Cepede Royg to end the tie. Muguruza will be hoping to continue to build momentum in Stuttgart as she seeks to add some more big title to her trophy cabinet.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had made a horror start to 2018 but there have been some good signs for the Russian of late. Pavlyuchenkova had a good victory over Anastasija Sevastova during Russia’s Fed Cup world group 2 playoff defeat at the hands of Latvia on the weekend. Pavlyuchenkova started her Stuttgart campaign with a critical 7-6 5-7 6-4 win over Madison Keys, her biggest win of the season to date. Pavlyuchenkova looked to be heading for a straight set win for most of the match but did well to regroup in the third set and finally clinch victory in a match that lasted over 3 hours.

It is Muguruza who enters this match with a 3-0 H2H advantage. The most recent match between the pair was in Cincinnati in 2016, a 7-5 6-1 win for Muguruza. This will be their first career meeting on clay.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Angelique Kerber vs. Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs. 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

Angelique Kerber continues her Stuttgart campaign on Thursday evening with a second round clash against Estonia’s Annett Kontaveit. Kerber kick-started her Stuttgart campaign with an impressive straight set win over Petra Kvitova, avenging her loss to the Czech star just a few days ago at the Fed Cup semi-final stage. The 2016 Stuttgart champion will look to build momentum and push towards another title with a victory over Kontaveit.

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Kerber produced a near-flawless performance in the opening round as she cruised past Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-2. It was a big win for Kerber who would have been bitterly disappointed with her efforts on the weekend as she was beaten by Karolina Pliskova and Kvitova in straight sets as Germany lost to the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semi-final. As expected Kerber came out breathing fire against Kvitova, clearly she was desperate for revenge and she got just that, in commanding fashion.

Anett Kontaveit was less convincing in her opening round win but her victory was extremely important. Kontaveit claimed a hard-fought 5-7 7-6 7-6 win over Kristina Mladenovic to snap a 4-match losing streak. It was a match that lasted over 3 hours, a dramatic, topsy-turvy encounter between two players that have not been in good form of late. It was a match full of errors and missed chances but to Kontaveit’s credit, it was the Estonian who was slightly tougher in the critical moments.

Interestingly it was Kontaveit who won the only previous match between the pair. A 6-4 6-0 demolition in Rome last year. At that time it was Kontaveit who was in career best form whilst Kerber was in a slump, heading into their Stuttgart clash it is Kerber who is in great form and Kontaveit who is in a slump.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Garcia vs. Marta Kostyuk, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇺🇦 (Q) Marta Kostyuk

An exciting second round clash in Stuttgart sees the 6th seeded Caroline Garcia come up against 15-year-old rising star Marta Kostyuk. Both Garcia and Kostyuk enter this match on a high. Garcia claimed a huge win over Maria Sharapova in the opening round whilst Kostyuk has already won 4 matches in Stuttgart having come through a tough qualifying draw to reach the main draw.

Caroline Garcia of France in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Caroline Garcia’s 3-6 7-6 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova on Tuesday was one of the biggest wins of the Frenchwoman’s career. Whilst Sharapova is not at her best right now, it was the manner in which Garcia fought past one of the greatest competitors the game has seen that was extremely impressive. Garcia looked destined for defeat for the vast majority of the match, two points from defeat in the second set tiebreak and down a break in the third set, it would have been easy for Garcia to crack. However, Garcia kept fighting and eventually over-powered Sharapova to claim a memorable win.

Marta Kostyuk is easily the most impressive teenager on tour. At 15 years of age, Kostyuk is already inside the top 150 and has had impressive results in 2018, most notably a run to the third round at the Australian Open. Kostyuk secured her spot in the main draw by coming from a set down to defeat Alize Cornet in the final round of qualifying after she defeated Julia Middendorf and Alexandra Cadantu in straight sets. Kostyuk kicked off her main draw campaign with a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over Antonia Lottner. At this stage of the tournament Kostyuk now has nothing to lose.

This will be the first career meeting between Garcia and Kostyuk. It will be the second time Kostyuk has come up against a top 10 opponent after she was beaten by Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open earlier this year.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Elina Svitolina vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇺🇦 (3) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇿 (Q) Marketa Vondrousova

Elina Svitolina will begin her 2018 Stuttgart campaign with a second round clash against Czech Qualifier Marketa Vondrousova. Svitolina is competing in Stuttgart for the first time in her career, the third seed received a bye through the opening round. Svitolina easily defeated Vondrousova earlier this year in Dubai, can the teenager can this a more competitive encounter?

Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in action at the 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Elina Svitolina has been typically consistent in 2018 but her results are the biggest tournaments have not been terrific. Svitolina arrives in Stuttgart having not played an event for a couple of weeks, her last outing was a quarter-final appearance in Miami where she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets. Clay is arguably Svitolina’s best surface, the 2017 Rome champion will be hoping to add a few titles to her collection over the coming months, ideally a major.

Marketa Vondrousova is already having a great week in Stuttgart. Vondrousova made her way through a tough qualifying draw, the 19-year-old went the distance in all 3 of her wins, beating Karolina Muchova, Oceane Dodin and Carina Witthoeft to secure a spot in the main draw. Vondrousova’s most impressive performance of the event thus far came at the opening round stage of the main draw, a surprisingly comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Julia Goerges. It was a clinical performance by Vondrousova who did not face a break point all match.

The only previous match between the pair ended in a 6-2 6-4 win for Svitolina in Doha earlier this year.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Simona Halep vs. Magdalena Rybarikova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇸🇰 Magdalena Rybarikova

Simona Halep will begin her 2018 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix campaign with a second round clash against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. The top seeded Halep received a bye through the opening round whilst Rybarikova caused the first big upset of the tournament by defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. Interestingly this has historically been a tough match-up for Simona, Rybarikova has beaten the world number 1 on multiple occasions and will fancy her chances of an upset here.

Embed from Getty Images

Simona Halep arrives in Stuttgart on a high after guiding Romania into the Fed Cup world Group at the weekend with victory over Switzerland. Halep won both of her singles matches as Romania secured a 3-0 victory. Halep defeated Golubic in 3 sets and claimed a 6-2 6-1 win over Patty Schnyder to end the tie. This is the time of the year where Halep is at her most dangerous, Halep is undoubtedly the number 1 player on clay on the WTA tour and will have her sights set on a number of big titles over the coming months, starting by potentially winning her first Stuttgart title.

Magdalena Rybarikova was extremely impressive in her opening round match in Stuttgart, The Slovakian claimed a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina, Rybarikova served extremely well throughout the match and successfully moved up the court frequently. Whilst clay is typically Rybarikova’s least preferred surface, the quicker indoor clay court conditions in Stuttgart actually play nicely for Rybarikova game.

Halep holds a 3-2 H2H record over Rybarikova, however on closer inspection it is Rybarikova who has the slight advantage having won 2 of their 3 completed matches. It was Halep who won their most recent completed match, a 6-3 6-4 win at the Rogers Cup last year.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Karolina Pliskova vs. Kiki Bertens, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens

A Brutal opening round clash in Stuttgart sees the 5th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on one of the tour’s clay court specialists: Kiki Bertens. This will be an exciting battle between two of the biggest hitters on tour. There is however a great contrast in styles between these two, the flat hitting of Pliskova against the heavy strokes of Bertens, who will prevail?

Embed from Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova has already had some time to get acclimatised to the conditions in Stuttgart after taking part in the Czech Republic’s successful semi-final Fed Cup tie with Germany at the weekend in Stuttgart. Pliskova claimed a hugely important victory over Angelique Kerber, a rare straight sets win over the German before succumbing to Julia Goerges in straight sets. Clay has never been Pliskova’s favourite surface but Karolina’s run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year will inspire the Czech number 1 heading into the 2018 clay court season.

Kiki Bertens may be just outside the top 20 in the rankings but on clay, according to the WTA’s power rankings she is number 3 on the dirt. Bertens showed just why she is considered number 3 on clay in her first clay court event of the year where she won the title in Charleston a few weeks ago. Bertens’ form in 2018 has generally not been good but on clay everything is different. Kiki’s heavy game is ideal for clay, one of very few players that play with such shape and power on the WTA tour, a true clay court specialist.

The only completed match between these two took place way back in 2013 on carpet in Paris, Bertens won 6-4 7-6.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Sloane Stephens vs. CoCo Vandeweghe, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (7) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇸 (wc) CoCo Vandeweghe

Fed Cup teammates Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe will collide at the opening round stage of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Stephens and Vandeweghe were both a part of the USA’s successful semi-final victory over France at the weekend which saw the USA reach the Fed Cup final for the second year in a row. Sloane Stephens was the hero of the tie and is in great form, however, Vandeweghe holds a 3-1 H2H advantage over Sloane. Can an in-form Stephens defy a negative H2H record and claim victory in Stuttgart?

Embed from Getty Images

Sloane Stephens is arguably the form player on tour right now. Stephens has won 8 matches in a row heading into Stuttgart. The reigning U.S Open champion played sublime tennis a few weeks ago to claim the second biggest title of her career as she won the Miami Open. At the weekend Stephens won both of her singles matches as the USA beat France 3-2 to reach the Fed Cup final. Sloane claimed a tight win over Pauline Parmentier before thrashing Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-0 in what proved to be the crucial moment of the tie.

CoCo Vandeweghe’s form is far, far less impressive than that of Stephens heading into Stuttgart. Vandeweghe has been unable to find her best tennis in 2018 and the present clay court swing is usually Vandeweghe’s least successful time of the year. Indeed, Vandeweghe has won just 1 tour level match in 2018 and lost her match on the weekend in the USA’s victory over France, a three set loss to Kristina Mladenovic.

What is in Vandeweghe’s favour is her 3-1 H2H record over Stephens. The most recent match between the pair took place at the U.S Open in 2015, Vandeweghe won that match 6-4 6-3. The only previous match between the two on clay ended in a 6-3 6-4 win for Stephens in Strasbourg in 2015.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs. 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

Kristina Mladenovic returns to Stuttgart with a point to prove, the 2017 Porsche Tennis GP runner-up will come up against Anett Kontaveit in what looms as a dangerous opening round clash for the Frenchwoman. Mladenovic has shown glimpses of good tennis in 2018 but her recent results continue to be poor, perhaps a return to Stuttgart where she had a great run to the final last year can inspire the 24-year-old.

Embed from Getty Images

Mladenovic arrives in Stuttgart with a sense of disappointment after France succumbed to the USA in the Fed Cup semi-finals on the weekend. Mladenovic won her opening match, beating CoCo Vandeweghe in 3 sets. However, Mladenovic produced a disappointing performance in the crucial third rubber, winning just 2 games in a comprehensive loss at the hands of Sloane Stephens. Can Mladenovic regroup in time to give a decent crack at defending her finalist points from last year in Stuttgart?

Anett Kontaveit arrives in Stuttgart having lost 6 of her last 7 matches. Kontaveit has really struggled since her run to the fourth round at the Australian Open earlier this year which ended in a brutal loss at the hands of Carla Suarez Navarro, a match Kontaveit had many chances to win. Kontaveit started her clay court season a few weeks ago in Lugano, the Estonian gave up another match winning position to succumb to Vera Lapko in 3 sets. At some stage Kontaveit will hit form again, will it be in Stuttgart?

The only previous meeting between the pair took place way back in Copenhagen in 2012, Kontaveit claimed a 6-1 6-7 6-3 victory.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Petra Kvitova vs. Angelique Kerber, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (8) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber will go H2H for the second time this week when they meet at the opening round stage of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The pair competed in the decisive 4th rubber of the Fed Cup semi-final tie between Germany and the Czech Republic in Stuttgart. Kvitova easily disposed of Kerber, claiming a straight set win to send the Czech Republic into yet another Fed Cup final. Can Kerber regroup and reverse the result of her disappointing loss at the weekend?

Embed from Getty Images

Petra Kvitova has been in irresistible form at times in 2018, most notably in a stretch that saw her win back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg and Doha. Petra’s form has tailed off since then but her outstanding performances on the weekend to guide the Czech Republic past Germany suggest another winning streak could be on the horizon.

Angelique Kerber has generally been very consistent in 2018 having reached at least the quarter-final stage at all 6 tournaments she has competed at in 2018. The bad news for Kerber is that her last 6 defeats have been in straight sets, most of them were noncompetitive matches. Kerber lost both of her matches during the weekend’s Fed Cup semi-final tie with the Czech Republic, a very disappointing loss to Karolina Pliskova and then a belting at the hands of Petra Kvitova. It will be interesting to see how the former Stuttgart champion responds this week.

Kvitova now holds a 6-5 H2H advantage over Kerber after her straight set win over the German just a few days ago, a commanding 6-2 6-2 win. Kvitova has now won the last two matches between the pair as she also claimed an epic 6-7 7-5 6-4 win in Wuhan in 2016 in their most recent match on the WTA tour.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Caroline Garcia vs. Maria Sharapova, Stuttgart R1 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, Stuttgart R1 Preview
🇫🇷 (6) Caroline Garcia vs. 🇷🇺 (wc) Maria Sharapova

The pick of the opening round matches in the Stuttgart sees the 6th seeded Caroline Garcia come up against 3-time former champion: Maria Sharapova. Garcia has not beaten Sharapova in her 4 previous attempts but this match looms as her greatest opportunity to finally secure a victory over the Russian. Sharapova has really struggled in 2018, persistent injury problems have meant that she has played very little tennis in 2018.

Caroline Garcia has not been able to replicate her stunning 2017 season ending form in 2018. However, the Frenchwoman is steadily building and will look to take her game to the next level over the coming months on clay, a surface that she is very dangerous on. Garcia started her clay season a few weeks ago in Charleston where she suffered a disappointing third round exit at the hands of Alize Cornet. Garcia has reasonable experience in Stuttgart having played the event on a few occasions, her most successful result was a run to the quarter-finals in 2015.

Maria Sharapova has only played in two tournaments since her third Australian Open defeat at the hands of Angelique Kerber 3 months ago. Sharapova was beaten by Niculescu in the opening round in Doha and smashed by Naomi Osako in the opening round in Indian Wells. Sharapova has not been able to achieve any continuity in her game since her return from a doping ban due to niggling injuries but she will head into this event with confidence given her previous success in Stuttgart where she won the title 3 years in a row between 2012 and 2014.

Sharapova heads into this match with a commanding 4-0 H2H record over Garcia. The pair have played on two occasions on clay, on both occasions Garcia pushed Sharapova to a third set. Their most recent match was in Madrid where Sharapova won 6-2 4-6 7-5.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here