WTA Tour: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix - Stuttgart Open Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

Our tennis writer previews this week's Stuttgart Open which form part of the WTA Tour. 

The Stuttgart Open- alternatively known by its sponsored name the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix- has been held since 1978. It is the oldest women's indoor event on the European circuit. This event was formerly a part of the Tier II category on the WTA Tour, but was bumped up to WTA Premier Status in 2009.

Last year’s event was rather crazy, with local favorite Laura Siegemund beating Kristina Mlandenovic in a final that defied a powerhouse draw. Eight of the world’s top 10 players are in attendance this week, with only Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams missing out. Simona Halep leads the seeds in a 28 woman draw that offers byes to the top four seeded players.

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix- Stuttgart Open | 22 April - 29 April | Porsche Arena, Stuttgart

Past Winners
2017: Laura Siegemund
2016: Angelique Kerber 
2015: Angelique Kerber
2014: Maria Sharapova 
2013: Maria Sharapova

First Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens
Halep came back from a tricky situation in her opening Fed Cup Playoff against Swiss player Viktorija Golubic, showing that her pugnacious battling ability is still very much at the fore. Halep has built her WTA Rankings lead following Wozniacki’s slight drop off post Aussie Open. She actually has a rather testy draw, with in vogue Daria Kasatkina her likely Round of 16 opponent. Sloane Stephens faces Coco Vandeweghe in a blockbuster opening match at the bottom of the quarter. Vandeweghe had a rather tough defeat to Mlandenovic in the FedCup, so one assumes that Stephens- having already won this season- should prevail. This is exceptionally difficult to call, with Halep clearly the clay court queen of the section. I think Halep may just prevail due to her clay court comfort.

Likely to Progress: Simona Halep

Second Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Elina Svitolina, Caroline Garcia
In contrast to the first quarter, this quarter sees a lot of players with indifferent form battling it out to progress. Julia Goerges had an wobbly start to the FedCup, while Elina Svitolina has really been inconsistent this season. Maria Sharapova has received a wildcard and will play 6th seed Caroline Garcia in the opening Round. Sharapova leads that head-to-head 4-0, though the last time they met was in 2015, well before Garcia rose to prominence. It annoys me to go for the top seeded player again, but this section looks manageable for Svitolina.

Likely to Progress: Elina Svitolina

Third Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Karolina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko
This is an extremely open quarter, with three qualifiers giving Pliskova and Ostapenko an upper hand over the rest of the field, particularly with a draw this strong. Pliskova does have a horrible first match against Charleston champion Kiki Bertens. Ostapenko has a bye leading to a match against the winner of two qualifiers. So the French Open defending champion looks set for a decent week with this draw. She actually has a negative 2-1 record against Pliskova should the Czech progress, though that last win came in their last meeting at last years’ WTA Championship- where the Latvian won comfortably. Furthermore, you have to take Pliskova’s efforts in the FedCup semi-final.

Likely to Progress: Jelena Ostapneko

Fourth Quarter- Projected Quarterfinalists- Petra Kvitova, Garbine Murguruza
The middle quarters are veritable picnics compared to what the Number One and Two seed have received at the top and bottom of the draw. No qualifiers here, that’s for sure. Kvitova will have to go through home favorite Angelique Kerber before a likely clash with French FedCup sensation Mlandenovic. Muguruza will likely have to face Madison Keys in her opening match before a possible quarterfinal encounter with either Mlandenovic, Kerber or Kvitova. So it’s clear to see that this is a loaded draw. I just think that last year’s runner-up Mlandenovic is one of the form players in women’s tennis and could pull of a surprise in this side of the draw.

Likely to Progress: Kristina Mlandenovic

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