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44TH PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX – DAY 4: FIRST ROUND WIN FOR LAURA SIEGEMUND – WORLD NO. 1 ASHLEIGH BARTY NEXT UP

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The title holder produced a highly impressive performance on her return to #stuttgart. In her opening match at the #porschetennisgrandprix, Petra Kvitova, who won the time-honoured tournament in 2019, was pitted against the rising star from America Jennifer Brady, this year’s Australian Open runner-up. The highly experienced two-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic came through far more comfortably than expected when running out a 6-4, 6-3 winner in a match full of top-class rallies. “It was a fantastic feeling playing on this court again. It gave me lots of energy,” said the victor who clinched her ticket for the second round on her fourth match point. She will now meet the in-form Greek Maria Sakkari on Wednesday.

In the previous match on Centre Court, two #porsche Team Germany players – #laurasiegemund and Mona Barthel – served up a tight three-setter. The 2017 tournament winner took the first set 6-4 before Mona Barthel, who had played her way into the main draw via qualifying, evened things up when clinching the second 6-3. Then #laurasiegemund regained control to wrap up the match 6-1 in the third. The knee problems that had been troubling her recently seemed to have been blown away after victory. “That was not the easiest match to find your way into such a tournament,” said the local hero. “I didn’t play my best #tennis but am just glad I battled my way through it.” The task ahead of her in the #porsche Arena does not get any easier. Next up on Wednesday is #ashleighbarty, the world No. 1 and the big tournament favourite.

Fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam on the other hand encountered few problems en route to reaching the second round. Playing Ulrikke Eikeri, the first ever Norwegian in the #porschetennisgrandprix main draw, the qualifier from #porsche Team Germany cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win. The victor however did not feel it had been that simple. “Lots of games went to deuce. I had to get my head down,” she said. “But I felt I had the match under control.” Her second-round match will be far more difficult as Aryna Sabalenka, the world No. 7 awaits. She is nevertheless in with a chance against the impressive Belarusian: “My form is improving. I’m trying to get a little better every match and gain even more confidence.”

Kerber progresses in doubles
After successfully qualifying, Julia Middendorf from the #porsche Junior Team faced Anett Kontaveit in the first ever WTA main draw match of her still fledgling career. She did not make things easy for the Estonian whose winning run at the 2019 tournament only came to an end in the final against Petra Kvitova. Initially, she was a bit nervous but then she increasingly gained in confidence and started putting pressure on her opponent, but it was not enough to prevent herself from going down 6-2, 6-3. The #stuttgart adventure is nevertheless not over yet as she has teamed up with her teammate Noma Noha Akugue in the doubles.

As for Angelique Kerber, she is scheduled to play her first singles on Wednesday. Her opponent is the Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze, who is still in the tournament as a lucky loser. A doable task for the #porsche Brand Ambassador and two-time #stuttgart winner who, partnered by Andrea Petkovic, reached the second round of the doubles on Tuesday. The first match of the day will be between the lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch and Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic, the 2019 winner and No. 6 seed. Play starts at 11.30 CET.