STUTTGART, Germany - Three days after their Fed Cup clash on this very court, two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber turned the tables on former World No.2 Petra Kvitova, securing a 6-3, 6-2 victory to keep her hopes of a third Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title alive.
"I knew what to expect," she said in her post-match press conference. "We played three days ago and I know how she played on Sunday. She was playing a good match. So, I was going out there, I had nothing to lose and I was just trying to play better than on Sunday, doing a few things a little bit different and also being more aggressive than I was on Sunday, taking the match in my hands. So, I think that was for me the most important thing today."
Kerber had won just four games against Kvitova during last weekend's Fed Cup semifinal against the Czech Republic, and appeared eager for revenge from first ball, navigating through some tough opening games to grab the only two breaks to take the early advantage.
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"The feeling is different because you play Fed Cup just two time or three times in the year and you have the preparation for one week all together, and then is the moment where you have to play your best. Here it’s more of a tournament feeling where I have my own team around me, where we have all the routines every single day before the match, after the match.
"I think that was for me the key that I was really playing point by point. I was trying not to think back on the match on Sunday. I was just trying to think about the match today, playing in the moment and I’m happy that I had the chance to play against her a few days later and make it better."
Back-to-back champion in Stuttgart between 2015 and 2016, the German took another big lead in the second set, securing victory on her third match point after one hour and 17 minutes on court.
"Every single point was so important, because Petra fights until the end, and so you never know what will happen. I just tried to focus until the last point."
Kvitova employed her aggressive game throughout, but was undone by 32 unforced errors compared to 28 winners; Kerber, by contrast, converted four of six break points and saved all three break points faced on her own serve.
Up next for Kerber will be Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, who saved two match points to defeat 2017 runner-up Kristina Mladenovic in a third-set tie-break. Kontaveit won their only previous encounter at last year's Internazionli BNL d'Italia.