Summary Day 9
Ashleigh Barty is the new Stuttgart tennis queen. By triumphing at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the world No. 1 crowned her week on Sunday and wrote tennis history at the same time. One day after her 25th birthday, she was not only the first Australian to win the singles final by beating Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 but also secured the doubles title immediately afterwards together with Jennifer Brady (USA). She is the first player in the history of the time-honoured Stuttgart tournament to pull off the feat in the Porsche Arena. The last person to claim both titles was the American Lindsay Davenport in 2001 - back then the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was still at home in Filderstadt. Her win has also now put Ashleigh Barty into the lead of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen, the official qualifying ranking for the WTA Finals.
More information in the press release or in this article.
Summary Day 8
Happy Birthday, Ash! On her 25th birthday, Ashleigh Barty gave herself a wonderful present by winning her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinal 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. A mamba green metallic Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo could well be added to the Australian world No. 1’s gift table after the final on Sunday. For it to happen, she first has to crown her debut at the long-standing Stuttgart tournament with a win against Aryna Sabalenka. The world No. 7 from Belarus has also reached the final on her first ever appearance in the Porsche Arena with an unexpectedly easy 6-3, 6-2 success against Simona Halep from Romania.
In the first semifinal against Elina Svitolina, Ashleigh Barty once again not only showed her outstanding skills with a tennis racket in her hand but also her sheer unbelievable mental strength. Like in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova, she once again lost the first set (6-4). The serving at 5-4 up in the second, the world No. 5 from Ukraine was only one game away from winning the match. But the world No. 1 kept battling and forced her way back into the match by first breaking her opponent and then taking her to a tie-break which she won 7-6 (5). In the deciding frame, Barty then broke twice early on before converting her second match point (6-2) after two hours and five minutes.
“It’s important to always believe you have a chance,” said the Australian who was presented with an enormous bouquet of spring flowers for her birthday after the match by the Tournament Director Markus Günthardt and the Operating Tournament Director Anke Huber. The fitting “Happy Birthday” song was played over the loud speakers but the prospect of it being sung on her return next year by a capacity 4,500 crowd in the Porsche Arena brought a smile to her face under the obligatory mask. Asked at the post-match interview on court whether it bothered her playing on her birthday, she replied by saying, “No, why? I love playing tennis.”
During the live coverage of the second semifinal, the tennis experts were most probably rubbing their eyes in disbelief. They surely cannot have expected the way in which Aryna Sabalenka dominated Simona Halep, the No. 2 seeded clay court specialist, and catapult her out of the race for the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. The world No. 7 only needed 66 minutes for the 6-3, 6-2 straight sets win. The Belarusian went on the attack right from the start and was rewarded for her courage. Halep was unable to find her game and Sabalenka could do almost nothing wrong, and this after her almost two-and-a-half-hour quarterfinal the day before which only finished just before midnight.
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 7
Four top stars will be contesting the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinals – Ashleigh Barty versus Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep versus Aryna Sabalenka. The two matches in the penultimate round on Saturday will determine the finalists at the 44th edition of the time-honoured Stuttgart tournament. There will definitely be a new winner – a winner that will take reception of a mamba green metallic Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo as the main prize. The title holder Petra Kvitova was ousted by Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals whilst the 2018 winner Karolina Pliskova was defeated by the top-seeded Ashleigh Barty.
The first quarterfinal on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena began at 2.00 in the afternoon but Ashleigh Barty was seemingly still half-asleep. In losing the first set 6-2, the Australia overwhelmed by Karolina Pliskova before taking the initiative to even up the match with an equally convincing 6-1 second set. And the rollercoaster continued. In final set, she again needed a long-run up and had her back to the wall when the Czech served for the match at 5-4. However, Ashleigh Barty impressively showed just why she tops the rankings and extricated herself from the perilous position with some great shots to progress to the semifinal after wrapping up the match 7-5 in the third. “It was a great battle, especially in the third set,” said the top favourite who is making her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “I never gave up, fought hard and tried to enjoy the match despite everything. They’re the matches I love.”
Her semifinal opponent Elina Svitolina from Ukraine downed the title holder Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals after eventually closing out the encounter 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2 after two hours 37 minutes. She was forced onto the back foot most of the time by the Czech and, after losing the first set in a tie-break, was soon 5-2 down in the second. The title holder was unable to convert her both first match point and then the second when she was serving for the match at 5-4. The world No. 5 continued battling to break back twice and eventually win a set that she had looked like losing. Her Czech opponent’s resistance was broken even though she herself fended off three match points. Elina Svitolina was still out of breath at the winner’s interview saying: “I expected a hard match but nothing like that. I fought for every single ball and it was the key to winning the match.”
Simona Halep has it easy
Ekaterina Alexandrova was in the quarterfinals by virtue of a surprise victory against Belinda Bencic. However, her winning run was brought to an end by Simona Halep. The two-time grand slam champion and Stuttgart No. 2 seed cruised to a 6-1 first set. Though the world No. 36 from Russia was improving all the time, the Romanian did not have to exert herself too much when taking the second 6-4, also thanks to her excellent serve. The fact that she had lost the last two matches against the Russian was of no importance anymore. “I have learned from the defeats and made her run a bit more,” said Simona Halep who is playing the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix for the sixth time. Looking ahead to the semifinals, she was nevertheless, “glad to finish off the match in two straight sets.”
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 6
It could hardly get any classier: six Top 10 players will be contesting the quarterfinals of the 44th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the Porsche Arena on Friday. Two Stuttgart winners are still in the race for the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo as the main prize for the winner – Petra Kvitova (2019) and Karolina Pliskova (2018).Pliskova will meet the world No. 1 and top favourite Ashleigh Barty from Australia whilst Kvitova will take on the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina who knocked Angelique Kerber out of the tournament. Simona Halep, who is competing at the long-standing Stuttgart tournament for the sixth time and who finally wants to win it, will play the Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, who has surprisingly reached the last eight. The last quarterfinal match immediately afterwards will be between Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus and Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the 2019 runner-up.
.@ElinaSvitolina kicks off her Stuttgart campaign with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over two-times champion Angelique Kerber. She faces defending champion @Petra_Kvitova in the quarter final tomorrow. #porschetennis #PTGP21 pic.twitter.com/WGwjQP1L4k— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) April 22, 2021
Elina Svitolina also stood on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena for the first time and promptly ended Angelique Kerber’s quarterfinal dreams. In the first set, the Porsche Brand Ambassador was equal to everything her opponent threw at her and only succumbed in the tie-break. But then everything went quickly. The No. 4 seeded Ukrainian eventually wrapped up the match 7-6 (4), 6-3 – it was her seventh win in succession against the Porsche Team Germany player. “It wasn’t exactly an easy start to the tournament,” said Elina Svitolina and was full of respect for her opponent: “Angie always extracts the best in me.” Despite the defeat, Angelique Kerber was not unhappy: “It was perhaps my best match this year,” she said confidently when looking forward to the clay court season.
For Aryna Sabalenka on the other hand, everything went pretty quickly en route to the quarterfinals. The world No. 7 only needed one hour and 19 minutes for her 6-4, 6-2 victory against Anna-Lena Friedsam from Porsche Team Germany. “Anna-Lena took her opportunities at the start but then in the second set I got more and more into the match,” said the Belarusian who is making her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. I’m very happy to be here. It’s a fantastic tournament.”
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 5
Ashleigh Barty has started her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix campaign with a comfortable win, something that can be expected of a world No. 1. In her first singles on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena, the Australian overcame the local hero Laura Siegemund in straight sets 6-0, 7-5. The win on Wednesday has put the top favourite, who is making her debut in Stuttgart, in the quarterfinals. She has been joined in the round of the last eight by the Estonian Anett Kontaveit after her surprising 7-5, 6-4 triumph against the American Sofia Kenin and the title holder Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic who edged past the Greek Maria Sakkari in a tight three-setter, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
What a fantastic match between @Petra_Kvitova and Maria Sakkari. After 2h 28min, the defending champion Petra Kvitova takes the three-set win (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) to reach the quarter final. Impressive performance from both players - that‘s why we love tennis! #porschetennis pic.twitter.com/4CCXzLtd7c— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) April 21, 2021
Angelique Kerber is not quite so far down the road yet, but the Porsche Brand Ambassador is on the right track. In cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 success against the lucky loser Ekaterine Gorgodze from Georgia, she has got off to a good start at the tournament she won in 2015 and 2016. “It’s great being back here,” she said after her opening victory. “The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is my home tournament. Even when one is rather alone out there in the arena without the fans, I feel very much at home here.” Her second-round match against the No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina (not before 6.30 pm CET) promises to be a far tougher affair. Six defeats in the last six encounters is the head-to-head record of the German and the Ukrainian. Angelique Kerber nevertheless has high hopes of progressing. “I’m not somebody that takes notice of such statistics,” she says. “I’ve got the advantage of having already played a match. I feel good and am looking forward to the game. I’ll be doing my very best to win it.”
Anett Kontaveit produced the first big surprise of the 44th edition of the time-honoured tournament. The Estonian, who is ranked No. 26 in the world, unexpectedly eased past the seeded American Sofia Kenin, who sits 22 places above her, 7-5, 6-4. It meant the 2020 Australian Open winner’s debut match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was also her last for the time being. Anett Kontaveit, who stood in the 2019 final in the Porsche Arena against Petra Kvitova, dominated the game right from the first rally and prevented her opponent from getting into any real rhythm, mainly due to her powerful serves. The statistics recorded a total of 12 aces – a welcome donation for the “Aces for Charity” campaign whereby Porsche gives 200 euros to charities for every ace struck at the tournament. “I’m so happy,” said the overjoyed winner after clinching a quarterfinal berth. “At the start, I wasted too many break points. But then in the second set, I started taking my chances.”
Tamara Korpatsch close to a major upset
In the first match of the day, Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch was not far off from causing a major upset against Karolina Pliskova. In her very first encounter against a Top 10 player, she posed the 2018 Stuttgart winner massive problems before eventually only succumbing 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. She definitely had her chances as she led 5-2 in the first set and there was little to choose between the two until 3-all in the final set – but in the end the current world No. 9 was simply too strong for the German. Karolina Pliskova was glad to have taken the first hurdle but stressed: “I have to improve and find my rhythm.” She has the opportunity to do so on Thursday when she faces Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko at 11.30 am CET. The 2017 French Open winner defeated the Swiss qualifier Stefanie Vögele 7-5, 6-4 in her first-round match.
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 4
The title holder produced a highly impressive performance on her return to Stuttgart. In her opening match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, 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 – Laura Siegemund 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 Laura Siegemund 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 Ashleigh Barty, 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 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 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.”
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 3
The favourites have progressed on the first day of main draw matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – and a junior from the Porsche Talent Team has bowed out of the first WTA tournament of her fledgling career after putting on an impressive display in the Porsche Arena.
If the first singles of the day had been played in front of spectators, then Nastasja Schunk would have won over all their hearts. The 17-year old youngster, who had previously left an excellent impression when winning her two qualifying matches, battled bravely right up until the very end against Belinda Bencic. There was little to choose between the players in the first set which the German eventually lost 6-4 after having chances against the world No. 12. But the Swiss then upped a gear and won the second comfortably 6-2 even though her young opponent never gave up staving off a total of five match points in the process.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix also came to an early end for Andrea Petkovic on Monday. Playing Maria Sakkari, the German, who was given a main draw wild card for the long-standing Stuttgart tournament, had no real chance and was beaten in two straight sets 6-2, 6-2. The Greek world No. 19, who has already beaten numerous top players this season and who recently fought her way to the Miami semi-finals, is appearing in Stuttgart for the first time and praised the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the highest tones in the post-match interview. Why hadn’t she come along to the Porsche Arena earlier? “It unfortunately wasn’t possible as I wasn’t good enough for this fantastic tournament.”
The world No. 1 also made her debut in the Porsche Arena. Partnered by Jennifer Brady (USA), the Australian Ashleigh Barty, the winner of the 2019 Porsche Race to Shenzhen and the WTA Finals, comfortably advanced to the next round of the doubles.
More information in the press release.
Summary Day 2
There is going to be a spectacular start to the main draw matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The draw ceremony on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena on Sunday when Julia Görges, the 2011 winner, pulled the names out of the “hat” has produced some highly promising matches in as early as the first round. After winning their way through the preliminary tournament, the qualifiers now face tough-looking matches against some of the world’s top players. The only 17-year old Nastasja Schunk from the Porsche Talent Team, the world No. 972, will start her campaign at the 44th edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Monday against Belinda Bencic. World ranked No. 12, the Swiss is one of the favourites. Andrea Petkovic will also face a strong opponent: the Greek Maria Sakkari has already beaten numerous top players this season.
Daunting prospect for Petra Kvitova and Jennifer Brady
With Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber in attendance, the draw for the 44th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was staged as a part of a stylish ceremony. The first-round pairings drawn with the help of the Porsche Brand Ambassador Julia Görges promise tennis of the highest class right from the very start. The top match is the one between Petra Kvitova and Jennifer Brady. The title holder and two-time Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic will take on the much-improved American who was the runner-up at the recent Australian Open – no other tournament in the world can offer such a high-class first round match.
Led by the Porsche Brand Ambassador Angelique Kerber, a total of eight German players are in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix’s main draw field. The 2015 and 2016 Stuttgart winner Angelique Kerber was a full member from the very start and Laura Siegemund, the 2017 winner, was given a direct entry today. Andrea Petkovic is in the line-up after receiving a wild card. Five other Germans earned their right to a place in the main draw via qualifying which was concluded on Sunday. Porsche Team Germany’s Mona Barthel and Anna-Lena Friedsam, the 2019 doubles winners, have qualified as has Nastasja Schunk from the Porsche Talent Team. The day’s biggest surprise was sprung by Julia Middendorf. After losing the first set 6-2 against the far more experienced Tamara Korpatsch, the Porsche Junior Team player pulled out all the stops to take the next two 6-3, 6-0. She duly fulfilled her dream of reaching the first ever WTA main draw of her budding career. Her opponent’s disappointment however did not last long as she was also later given a berth in the exclusive line-up that includes seven Top 10 players as a lucky loser.
“We’d like to thank all the players that have come to us.” Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG
In a video message broadcast at the draw ceremony, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, Oliver Blume addressed both the players and the fans. “Porsche is very grateful that we have been able to hold this tournament for such a long time. It is one of the tennis season’s highlights and one of the most important events in the Stuttgart region,” he said. “For years now, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has stood for fantastic sport. We’d like to thank all the players that have come to Stuttgart. And we’d like to thank the fans all over the world that follow the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.”
Ashleigh Barty pleased to be in Stuttgart
Whilst the qualifying finals were still being played on Courts 1 and 2, Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber teamed up for a practice session on Centre Court. “Up until now, I’ve enjoyed every second in Stuttgart,” said the world No. 1 from Australia who is appearing in the Porsche Arena for the first time. “I love having so many good players around me. I’m pleased to be here and will do my very best.” It is something Angelique Kerber, who is aiming to get off to a good start to the clay court season in Stuttgart, also wants to do. “I’ve trained hard in recent weeks so that I can come here well-prepared,” she said. The lack of fans hurts but the two-time Stuttgart winner also knows, “The fans are here even though they’re only in front of their TV screens. And they are always in our hearts."
Summary Day 1
Action-packed start to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. In the first round of qualifying, 24 players from 12 nations served up exciting matches in the battle for one of the six remaining main draw berths at the long-established Stuttgart tournament. The Porsche Junior Team’s Noma Noha Akugue sprang the day’s biggest surprise when comfortably beating the No. 1 seed Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 6-4. Only 17-years old, the current German champion is ranked an incredible 698 places below the Russian. In the final round on Sunday, Noma Noha Akugue will face fellow German Nastasja Schunk from the Porsche Talent Team, who defeated Daniela Seguel (Chile) 6-4, 6-4.
A second Porsche Junior Team member has also progressed to the next round. Julia Middendorf won 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 against the Croatian Jana Fett. Her opponent in the contest for the main draw ticket will be her countrywoman, Tamara Korpatsch. After the Porsche Talent Team’s Katharina Gerlach downed the Romanian 6-3, 7-5 Laura-Ioana Paar, two Porsche Team Germany players also booked their places in the final round of the strong qualifying tournament: Anna-Lena Friedsam took her chance in a match lasting two hours 20 minutes by eventually overcoming her club teammate Stephanie Wagner 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Mona Barthel from the local TEC Waldau Stuttgart club, who last stood in the singles main draw at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix back in 2015, won 6-1, 6-4 against the Italian Martina Caregaro. The final round of qualifying begins at 11.00 am on Sunday.
Draw ceremony live on Centre Court
The tournament draw at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will take place on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena at 2.00 pm on Tuesday. In attendance at the ceremony will be Ashleigh Barty, the Australian world No. 1, as well as the two-time Stuttgart winner Angelique Kerber. The draw will be televised live on Porsche Tennis TV at porsche-tennis.com live.
Service for all the media representatives
Our new media hub containing all the relevant information about the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix like press releases, match results, statistics, audio recordings of press conferences with players and photos is available to journalists at the start of the tournament via the Porsche Press Data Base at presse.porsche.de/mediahub. Further contents can be found in the Porsche Tennis Media Guide.