37th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix attracts world class field to Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena - UBITENNIS
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37th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix attracts world class field to Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena

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TENNIS – “Play! Girls”: The motto of the 37th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has, once again, enticed the world’s best women players to Stuttgart. Eight top ten players will be competing in the Porsche Arena for prize money totalling 710,000 US dollars and the Porsche 911 Targa 4S for the winner from 19 to 27 April 2014. The star line-up will include title-holder Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber, Porsche Team Germany’s No. 1.

 

“We’ve once again got a main draw field normally only seen at Grand Slams and our audiences are certain to watch tennis of the highest class this year too,” said Markus Günthardt. That so many top stars have decided to come to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is something he sees as being, “a compliment and big sign of the confidence they have in our tournament – and as a spur to get better and better.”

Russian Maria Sharapova will be returning to Stuttgart as the defending champion. The Porsche brand ambassador won the tournament in 2012 and 2013. Her opponent in last year’s final was the Chinese Li Na, who will come to Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as the current world No. 2 and the newly crowned Australian Open champion. She also heads the seedings. Other top ten players in Stuttgart are Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Simona Halep (Romania), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Sara Errani (Italy), Jelena Jankovic (Serbia), the 2008 winner, and Angelique Kerber. Porsche Team Germany’s top player has already reached the final this year in Sydney and Doha. Her two great performances against Slovakia were crucial in helping Porsche Team Germany reach the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time since 1995. In addition to Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic, two other former world No. 1s, Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) and Ana Ivanovic (Serbia), will also be in the line-up.

Hoping for a wild card

Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki is the second Porsche Team Germany player certain of a place in the main draw. Her teammates Andrea Petkovic, Annika Beck, Mona Barthel and Julia Görges, who won the 2011 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, are on the other hand hoping to be awarded one of the two wild cards. Anna-Lena Grönefeld is, especially after her win in Paris playing alongside Kveta Peschke, one of the favourites for the doubles – together with last year’s winning team of Sabine Lisicki/Mona Barthel.

Reach the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix main draw via qualifying and then gain invaluable experience for their careers when playing the world’s best is the aim of the sponsored players belonging to Porsche Talent Team Germany. The development curve is pointing upwards: whilst Anna-Lena Friedsam, the current German champion, Carina Witthöft and Antonia Lottner mainly collected important world ranking points on the ITF tournament circuit in 2013, Dinah Pfizenmaier caused a sensation last year at the French Open by reaching the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. The reward: she broke into the WTA world top 100.

Pete Sampras in the duel of the legends

Tennis history will come alive in the Porsche Arena on the opening day of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix when Pete Sampras and Carlos Moyá face each other in the Berenberg Classics, an eagerly awaited duel of the legends – on Easter Monday, 21 April. “It’s a further highlight for our spectators to look forward to,” said Tournament Director Markus Günthardt. “We are proud to be able to present a tennis legend like Pete Sampras.” The American won 14 Grand Slam titles during the course of his career and stood 286 weeks at the top of the world rankings.

Ticket info: tickets for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, which begins on 19 April 2014 in Porsche Arena, Stuttgart – Germany, with the qualifying tournament, can be booked by phoning Easy Ticket Service on +49 (0) 711 / 2 55 55 55 or via internet at www.easyticket.de (Simone Kemler/Porsche Tennis)

 

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina Announces Pregnancy

Tennis’ power couple are set to become parents later this year.

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Former world No.3 Elina Svitoliva has announced that she is expecting a baby girl in October on social media.

 

The 27-year-old made the announcement on Sunday morning with a picture of her and her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils. Known by some as the sports ‘power couple,’ the two tied the knot last July in Geneva ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games after first going public about their relationship in 2019. They even have their own Instagram account called ‘g.e.m.s. life’ which has more than 139,000 followers.

“With a heart full of love and happiness, we are delighted to announce that we are expecting a baby girl in October,” the couple wrote on Twitter.

Svitolina hadn’t played on the Tour since losing to Heather Watson at the Miami Open in March after deciding to take time away from the sport due to events happening in her home country. Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine earlier this year which has claimed thousands of lives. Svitolina is one of the sport’s most outspoken players regarding the conflict. She has previously spoken out against the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from Wimbledon by arguing that they should be allowed to participate if they condemn the actions of their home countries.

We don’t want them banned completely,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“If players don’t speak out against the Russian government then it is the right thing to ban them.”

Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Svitolina has achieved a win-loss record of 5-8 on the Tour this season with her best runs being to the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of a WTA event in Monterrey.

During her career, the Ukrainian has won 16 WTA titles and reached the semi-finals of two Grand Slams during 2019.

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Bianca Andreescu reaches Rome quarterfinals after beating Petra Martic

The Canadian was able to get by her Croatian opponent in straight sets on Thursday afternoon in the Italian capital.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

Bianca Andreescu is through to the quaterfinals of the Italian Open being played at the Foro Italico in Rome after beating Petra Martic in 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

 

The Toronto native served four aces and won 76% of her first serve points in a match that was pretty straight forward for the world number 90 who makes her first quaterfinal this season.

During the first set both players did a good job holding serve and it was pretty tight until 4-4 when the Canadian was able to convert and served out the first set to take a 1-0 lead.

Andreescu was hungry for the early break in the second set and she got it but the Croat broke right back the following game to level the set at 2-2. She was then put on the defensive as the world number 47 started putting pressure on the Canadian but Andreescu was able to save two breakpoints before being able to hold serve to make it 3-3.

The next game Martic produced a poor service game and the 2019 US Open champ took full advantage, getting the break and that one break was enough for her to serve out the match.

Her reward for reaching the quarterfinals a date with the world number one Iga Swiatek who had no issues beating the Minsk native Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-1.

This will be their first ever meeting on the WTA Tour.

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‘She Doesn’t Really Have A Weakness’ – Karolina Pliskova Unsurprised By Swiatek’s Dominance

The Czech also opens up about her difficult start to the year where she has won just two matches.

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) in the fourth round of the Ladies' Singles on Court 12 at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Monday 05/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Iga Swiatek’s current streak of 24 match wins might have caught some by surprise by not Karolina Pliskova.

 

The world No.1 is the first player this season to have won four WTA events and is the third youngest to have won 20 or more matches in a row on the Tour since 2000 after both of the Williams sisters. Against seeded players this year, she has a win-loss record of 14-2. The recent dominance by the Pole solidifies her position as the highest ranked player in the world. A position she obtained following the decision by Ash Barty to retire from tennis just weeks after winning the Australian Open.

Pliskova knows all too well what it is like to play Swiatek after she was thrashed by the 20-year-old in Rome last year. The Czech lost 6-0, 6-0, to her younger rival in the final. That was the only time in her career she has played a WTA match without winning a single game.

I’m not surprised at all. She has that kind of game. I think she beats so many players super easy because she doesn’t really give one ball no matter what the score is,” Pliskova said of Swiatek during an interview with Eurosport.
“You can have players, like for example Madison Keys, she can play amazing but then she’s always going to have that one game where she gives you a couple of mistakes. But I think Iga just doesn’t have those games.”

Swiatek is unsurprisingly one of the favourites to clinch the French Open title, which will get underway later this month. She won the Grand Slam back in 2020 but hasn’t reached another major final since then. During the off-season she made a change to her coaching team by pairing up with Tomasz Wiktorowski who is known for his work with Agnieszka Radwanska.

“Of course, she can still play better and worse, but still she doesn’t give any free mistakes. So that’s why it’s super difficult to stay close, and of course, if you feel bad then you’re just going to lose a lot,” Pliskova continued.
“Because especially on clay, I think she moves very well, she doesn’t really have a weakness. And of course now, the confidence, I suppose it cannot be much higher. So that’s I think a big part of the success.”

As Swiatek surges in the sport, Pliskova is hoping to gain some momentum in the near future. After missing the start of the year due to a hand injury, she returned to action in Indian Wells but has enjoyed limited success. Failing to win back-to-back matches in six straight tournaments. Her latest loss was in the second round of the Italian Open to Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.

The 30-year-old has a wealth of points to defend during the second half of 2022. Last year she reached the final of both Wimbledon and the Canadian Open, as well as a run to the quarter-finals of the US Open.

I think I’m old enough to not always [live] by the results or have the moods, I think I can just separate these things now,” she said.
“I’m doing my best so everything is not just about results and about tennis. I feel happy, I feel okay, and mainly my wrist is fine so I’m feeling fine. I think if I can hold this kind of like, it’s not like I will be super positive, but this kind of mood, it can help me in the second half of the year.”

Pliskova is currently ranked sixth in the world.

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