Simona Halep vs Anastasija Sevastova, Stuttgart QF Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart QF Preview
(4) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇱🇻 Anastasija Sevastova

A resurgent Simona Halep made a strong start to her Stuttgart campaign on Thursday, claiming a crushing 6-2 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova. Halep is playing the best tennis that she has played all year after she won a couple of big matches in impressive fashion on the weekend in Fed Cup action. Halep faces an in form Anastasija Sevastova at the quarter-final stage in Stuttgart on Friday.

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Maria Sharapova vs Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart QF Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart QF Preview
(wc) 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

Maria Sharapova has made an impressive return to the WTA tour in Stuttgart. The 3-time former champion has advanced to the quarter-final stage courtesy of a couple of gritty straight set victories. Sharapova comes up against Annett Kontaveit in the first quarter-final of the day in Stuttgart, Kontaveit is on a 5-game winning streak having come through the qualifying draw so she will enter this match with confidence.

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Angelique Kerber vs Kristina Mladenovic, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart R2 Preview
(1) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Two-time defending champion Angelique Kerber will begin her 2017 Porsche Tennis GP campaign with a second round clash against Kristina Mladenovic. Kerber, an ambassador for Porsche, has thrived at her home event over the last couple of years, winning back-to-back titles at the event, successfully defending a title for the very first time in her career when she won the event last year.

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Maria Sharapova vs Ekaterina Makarova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart R2 Preview
(wc) 🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs 🇷🇺 Ekaterina Makarova

Maria Sharapova will continue her return to the tour on Thursday with a second round clash against compatriot Ekaterina Makarova. Sharapova has a dominant record over Makarova, winning all six of their previous matches, all in straight sets. Sharapova made a solid return on Wednesday with a straight set win over Roberta Vinci, it will be interesting to see how Sharapova backs up just 24 hours later.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Anett Kontaveit, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart R2 Preview
(5) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs (Q) 🇪🇪 Anett Kontaveit

2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza will be back on the red dirt as she gets her 2017 clay court season underway with a second round match-up against an in form Annett Kontaveit at the second round stage in Stuttgart. Muguruza is undoubtedly one of the best performers on a clay court on the WTA tour, if not the very best heading into the 2017 clay swing given the absence of Serena Williams. It will be interesting to see how many titles Muguruza can pick up over the next couple of months, the opportunity is there for Muguruza to be dominant.

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Simona Halep vs Barbora Strycova, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Porsche Tennis GP, 🇩🇪🏎️ Stuttgart R2 Preview
(4) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova

Simona Halep will begin her 2017 Stuttgart campaign with a second round clash against Barbora Strycova. Halep enters the Porsche Tennis GP in the best form that she has been in all year, the Romanian claimed two comfortable wins on the weekend to help secure a 3-2 Fed Cup triumph over Great Britain. Strycova will be no pushover, the Czech is always a difficult prospect, especially for someone playing their first match of the tournament.

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Angelique Kerber vs Laura Siegemund, Stuttgart Final Preview

Stuttgart Final: (2) Angelique Kerber vs (Q) Laura Siegemund

For the first time in 39 years there will be an all-German final in Stuttgart. Defending champion Angelique Kerber will come up against in-form qualifier Laura Siegemund. Kerber is into her first final since her Australian Open triumph earlier this year whilst Siegemund will be competing in the biggest final of her career. This promises to be an entertaining encounter between two fierce competitors in front of an adoring home crowd at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. 

 

Angelique Kerber’s recent form is probably the best it has been since her Australian Open victory. The German has made a strong start to the clay court season, amassing an 8-1 win/loss record. Kerber has had to overcome a couple of tough opponents on route to the final. The world number 3 advanced to the final courtesy of back-to-back wins over top 15 opponents, recording a straight set win over Carla Suarez Navarro before claiming a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova.

Laura Siegemund has gone on a stunning run to the final in Stuttgart. Siegemund has come all the way from the qualifying draw, winning 14 sets in a row. Siegemund certainly hasn’t benefited from an easy draw, recording 3 consecutive victories over top 10 opponents to reach the final. Incredibly, Siegemund did not drop more than 6 games in a match on route to victories over Simona Halep, Roberta Vinci and Agnieszka Radwanska. Siegemund’s 6-4 6-2 win over Radwanska at the semi-final stage on Saturday was particularly impressive, finishing the match with 34 winners to 17 unforced errors, a new perfect performance. 

 

This will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Siegemund. Usually Kerber would be a clear favourite heading into a match between these two but given Siegemund’s recent form this match promises to be a close one. It is clear that Siegemund is playing the tennis of her life at the moment, however it remains unclear how she will handle the occasion of playing in such a big final. Kerber is certainly far more experienced and will be unfazed by the occasion. Kerber should also be much fresher heading into this match given she has only been required to play 3 matches on route to the final whilst Siegemund has already played 7 matches having come through the qualifying draw.

I’m going to side with Kerber. The defending champion is always tough to beat but more so in matches like this where she will almost always raise her level of tennis. This will be a whole new test for Siegemund, if she can maintain the same level of tennis that she has played at all week then she will have a chance because she has a solid, aggressive game that can certainly trouble Kerber on this surface. Ultimately I think it will be too much for Siegemund, I think Kerber will be too strong for the qualifier. 

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Laura Siegemund in 3 sets

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Laura Siegemund, Stuttgart SF Preview

Stuttgart SF: (1) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (Q) Laura Siegemund

Aga Radwanska is just 2 wins away from claiming her first clay court title since 2012. The Polish top seed will be the strong favourite heading into Saturday night’s semi-final clash with Laura Siegemund. The German qualifier is having a magnificent week and will head into this match full of confidence, feeling as though she has nothing to lose having already exceeded all expectations.

Radwanska has not had much success on clay in recent years and will be desperate for improved results in 2016. Early signs are pretty good for Radwanska, overcoming 2 difficult opponents to advance to the semi-finals in Stuttgart. Radwanska started the week with a 1-6 6-1 6-2 win over Andrea Petkovic before defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6. The top seed played some superb tennis towards the end of the second against Pliskova, the Czech threw everything at the Pole but Radwanska was good enough to get the job done in straight sets.

 

Siegemund has already won 6 matches in Stuttgart on route to the semi-finals, as opposed to Radwanska who was only required to win 2 matches to reach the final 4. Siegemund has not dropped a set all week, and enters Saturday’s semi-final full of positive momentum after back-to-back victories over top 10 opponents. Siegemund crushed a lacklustre Simona Halep 6-1 6-2 before producing an inspired performance to ease past Roberta Vinci with a 6-1 6-4 win. The German seems to be thriving in front of her home crowd and is clearly playing the best tennis of her career at the moment.

There is no doubt that Siegemund is in great form this week, however it seems silly to go against Radwanska here. The Pole is far more experienced in these situations and should prove to be too clever for Siegemund. The German will need to play the match of her life to get through this match, which is unlikely, Siegemund is ranked where she is for a reason (71) and Aga is likely to expose those reasons. Aga should get the job done here, probably quite comfortably. 

Prediction: Agineszka Radwanska to defeat Laura Siegemund in 2 sets

Carla Suarez Navarro vs Angelique Kerber, Stuttgart QF Preview

Stuttgart QF: (7) Carla Suarez Navarro vs (2) Angelique Kerber

Friday’s first quarter-final of the day at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix sees Angelique Kerber continue her titles defense with a tricky clash against Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Suarez Navarro has been untroubled in her opening two matches in Stuttgart. The Spaniard started the week with a commanding 6-3 6-0 win over Oceane Dodin before cruising past Anna-Lena Friedsam courtesy of a 6-2 6-2 victory. Carla is now into her third consecutive quarter-final in Stuttgart and will be aiming to reach the semi-final stage of the event for the first time in her career.

Angelique Kerber’s title defense in Stuttgart got off to a shaky start when she lost the first set of her opening round match to Annika Beck, However, the German recovered well in the next two sets to record a relatively comfortable 4-6 6-3 6-1 win. Angie will need to produce an improved performance on Friday if she is to claim a maiden victory over Suarez Navarro on a clay court.

 

Kerber holds a slight edge in the head-to-head record having won 3 of her 5 previous matches against the Spaniard. Angie has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair, including a 6-2 6-3 win at the Brisbane International earlier this year in what was their most recent clash. Interestingly, Carla has won their only previous match on a clay court, a straight set win in Stuttgart back in 2014.

This is a tough match to call but I would say Kerber has the slight edge in this match-up. Both players are great movers and are primarily counter-punchers. However, Kerber has a greater ability to play aggressive tennis and finish off the rally quicker which is important in a match-up like this. A clay court will generally favour Suarez Navarro in this match-up, but the Stuttgart courts are not traditional clay courts, the conditions are much quicker. I think Angie will find a way to claim a win here.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in 3 sets

Petra Kvitova vs Monica Niculescu, Stuttgart R2 Preview

Stuttgart R2: (5) Petra Kvitova vs Monica Niculescu

Petra Kvitova made a perfect start to her Stuttgart campaign on Tuesday by recording an emphatic 6-0 6-0 victory over Louisa Chirico. The Czech is likely to face a far tougher challenge in her second round clash when she comes up against Monica Niculescu, an opponent that beat Kvitova earlier this year in Fed Cup. A motivated Kvitova will be keen to avenge that heartbreaking loss to Niculescu and will be keen to avoid an early exit in Stuttgart.

Petra Kvitova decided to skip the Czech Republic’s semi-final tie last weekend because the event was not being played on a clay court, instead Kvitova opted to do some extra training on the clay ahead of the clay court swing. The training seems to be paying off, the Czech was dominant in her first round win in Stuttgart, crushing Louisa Chirico 6-0 6-0. Kvitova will know that she must remain extremely focused in her second round clash with Niculescu, Kvitova has all the weapons to punish Niculescu but she also has the ability to lose her mind and allow Niculescu to strike.

 

Monica Niculescu also made an impressive start to her Stuttgart campaign, the Romanian comfortably beat Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2 to set up a second round clash with Kvitova. Niculescu’s first round win over Caroline Garcia was her first ever main draw victory in Stuttgart.

The head-to-head record between Kvitova and Niculescu is split at 1 win apiece. Kvitova comfortably defeated Niculescu on grass back in 2013 but it was Niculescu who won their most recent match in a Fed Cup tie earlier this year. Niculescu shocked a lacklustre Kvitova, recording a 6-3 6-4 win.

I suspect a determined Kvitova will be too strong for Niculescu on this occasion. The quicker clay courts in Stuttgart should favour Petra in this match-up. Kvitova will be fired up for this clash after her embarrassing loss to the Romanian earlier this year and is therefore unlikely to dish up a lacklustre performance. Kvitova looked great in her first round match and is seemingly playing at a high enough level to suggest that she will not slip up here.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Monica Niculescu in 2 sets


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