Four Germans Into QFs, Wozniacki Wins Too
Published April 20, 2011 12:00
STUTTGART, Germany - What better time for German players to shine than at the only WTA tournament in their country? Four of the home country's biggest talents have reached the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
The first and perhaps most surprising German triumph of the day went to 79th-ranked, 29-year-old Kristina Barrois, who dropped the first two games of the match but snapped into top form to upset No.8 seed Marion Bartoli, 64 62.
"I played perfectly," said Barrois, who is now in the first Premier-level quarterfinal of her career. "Hopefully the other three do the same today so it'll be four of us in the quarters. We are on a run - especially Petkovic. We feel that support from the German media and the fans. It's great for us and for Germany too."
Shortly afterwards, former No.22 Sabine Lisicki, who is now No.155 in the world after an ankle injury-marred 2010, became the second German into the final eight, upsetting No.6 seed Li Na, 64 75. She only hit one ace (she had 14 in her first round match) but she did show steely nerves, including rallying from 3-5 in the second set to close the Chinese No.1 out in straights.
"When I was No.22, I felt the pressure of being the seeded player who was expected to get through at least two rounds at the bigger tournaments," Lisicki said. "Now after my injury and being No.155, the pressure has disappeared. I'm playing better than my ranking would suggest. And the crowd was sensational!"
Andrea Petkovic became the third German into the final eight, coming back from a set down to get past No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic, 36 61 63. It was Petkovic's second straight win over Jankovic - she also beat the Serb in Miami.
"I always compare myself with a diesel engine. I need time to get going then everything's fine," Petkovic said. "At any other tournament I wouldn't have the strength to fight my way back into it, but with this fantastic crowd, you simply can't let up. You find reserves even when you think you've got nothing left."
Julia Goerges also made her way into the final eight, although not the way she wanted, probably - she had fought back from 2-5 to 4-5 but ended up losing the set, 4-6, when No.4 seed Victoria Azarenka retired with a shoulder injury.
"I picked up a shoulder injury during Fed Cup," Azarenka said. "I have been trying to rehab the last few days and tried my best here but it keeps getting worse. I didn't want to push it any further at the start of the clay season. I'll go back to do some therapy in Monaco so hopefully I'll have time to recover and play Madrid. I'm sorry for the fans... I wish Julia good luck the rest of the week."
It is the first time four Germans have made the quarters of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix since 1984 (Steffi Graf, Bettina Bunge, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Eva Pfaff) and the first time four have made the quarters of any WTA event since Hamburg in 1995 (Anke Huber, Barbara Rittner, Jana Kandarr, Petra Begerow).
Petkovic was asked about the quartet's success. "I've been asked so many times what it's like being No.1 in Germany with all the pressure, and I kept saying it's not just me, there are three or four other girls who are playing so well, and it'll click soon. I love that it has happened in Stuttgart. I also love being right! It gives me even more confidence that everything I said was right!"
Also moving through were No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki, No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva, No.5 seed Samantha Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska. Wozniacki needed just 63 minutes to get past Slovakian lucky loser Zuzana Kucova, 61 62; Radwanska beat No.3 seed Francesca Schiavone, 61 63.
Wozniacki will face Petkovic next; the German beat her in Miami. "Last time I felt Caroline was tired because she had won so many matches. Now I'm a little tired, and on clay I feel like she'll bring even more balls back," Petkovic said. "But with the crowd and the adrenaline I have, I think I have a chance."