By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Defending champion Angelique Kerber is attempting to defend a title for the first time
- Laura Siegemund is the first qualifier to ever reach the final in Stuttgart
STUTTGART, GERMANY – The scene is set for a thrilling showdown to this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, as Angelique Kerber faces compatriot Laura Siegemund in the defence of her title.
Angelique Kerber v Laura Siegemund – H2H: First Meeting
Kerber edged Petra Kvitova in three sets in a battle of the lefties, in the first of the semi-finals, and draw on the memories of the year before as a well timed song by the DJ helped her turn around the momentum of the second set where a slight laps of concentration gave Kvitova a glimmer of hope.
But if we thought we were in for clash of the two top seeds, the slick dirt threw up one more shocker as qualifier Siegemund made top seed Agnieszka Radwanska look pedestrian as she swept past her in straight sets.
This gives us an interesting conundrum now as up until the second semi-final, the crowd was Kerber’s to have and to hold. But their affection for the chirpy underdog whose Sports Psychology thesis is entitled ‘Choking Under Pressure’ could well prove to be uncomfortable bedtime reading for the Australian Open champion.
Both have put some time in on the clay already, heading out to the grey/green of Charleston, some Fed Cup for Kerber and the qualifying rounds for Siegemund before the main draw proper.
One thing is for sure. If Siegemund had scant regard for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Simona Halep, Roberta Vinci and now Radwanska, she probably will not be feeling much for Kerber either, ahead of the final.
She admitted that after her win over Halep, she had not really had the time to enjoy the moment, and looked more ready for the celebrations after ousting the Italian. No qualifier has ever won Stuttgart, but at least if she achieves that honour she lives quite close buy and so can scoot home with the Porsche.
This will be a huge test for Kerber. The pair have never met, and Siegemund (in Kerber’s own words) has ‘nothing to lose’. In a way Kerber has weathered some of the expectations of winning a Slam with two not-so-great outings in Doha and Indian Wells. Since then she seems to have at least gotten her game, her head and the juggling of all the media what-not straight.
Likewise though, Siegemund, also 28 like Kerber, is experiencing form and success perhaps a little later in her career. Once earmarked as the next German prodigy after the halcyon days of Steffi Graf, she struggled with the age old issue of being an outstanding junior who failed to make that transition once on the tour.
Siegemund almost played Radwanska at her own game (whether intentionally or not) with a lot od variety and clever use of the court, that could frustrate Kerber to revert to her more natural defensive capabilities, and perhaps not go for the more aggressive approach that has yielded her results this year.
There is something about getting that success later that makes every win all the sweeter. For both a little slice of history awaits. Either way, if both bring their A-game for one last time, we could see a pretty worthy all-German clash.
Prediction: Kerber in three sets.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final will take place at 1:30pm (12:30 BST).
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