WTA Stuttgart – Kerber leads the quarter-final picks
By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Angelique Kerber  v Carla Suarez Navarro 
- Petra Kvitova  v Garbine Muguruza 
- Agnieszka Radwanska  v Karolina Pliskova
- Roberta Vinci  v Laura Siegemund [Q]
STUTTGART, GERMANY – The quarter-finals are set and they don’t look to disappoint, but is there a joker in the pack? We take a look.
Angelique Kerber  v Carla Suarez Navarro  – H2H: Kerber leads 3-2
As you might expect, there has been fanfare and attention surrounding defending champion and newest Slam champion on the block Kerber, while Suarez Navarro has flown largely under the radar.
This has all the hall marks of being a tough match. While Kerber is working better with the pressures that come with playing at the top, she is not immune to the odd wobble, as we saw in her first tournaments straight afterwards. And of course not surprisingly the Spaniard’s one win over Kerber was on clay – where? In Stuttgart two years ago.
This is a very different model of Kerber in a lot of aspects. She seems to be embracing the other trappings of the tour a lot more – she is more natural with the press, and she has faced some very tough battles mentally and prevailed. Still we can expect this to be a close one.
Prediction: Kerber in three sets.
Petra Kvitova  v Garbine Muguruza  – H2H: Muguruza leads 1-0
We might be seeing the eventual champion in this quarter-final. Of all the players arriving for essentially the start of the elite players putting in their time on the road to Roland Garros, Muguruza seems to be the one that has looked the most relaxed.
Not only that but she has a quiet confidence again that, as she said, this is her territory and she is not going to give it up without a fight.
They have faced each other only once, perhaps surprisingly in a very hard fought battle at the WTA Finals and we think this is going to be no different, including the great fight that Kvitova showed to come back from a set down and three match points with Monica Niculescu.
They are both solid hitters, big servers and play a similar game. Kvitova has stated that she doesn’t adapt her game to play on the clay so much as plays the game she is used to. Still, just in terms of confidence on the slippery dirt – the edge rests with Muguruza.
Prediction: Muguruza in three sets.
Agnieszka Radwanska  v Karolina Pliskova – Radwanska leads 5-0
Despite starting slowly against home crowd favourite Andrea Petkovic, who roared through the first set, she soon made the adjustments necessary to speed ahead in the second set before a slip on the line perhaps knocked the German for six.
Pliskova got past Ana Ivanovic but is looking pretty hampered with heavy strapping on her upper leg, and if there is one player you don’t want to be inhibited against, it is Radwanska.
Add to that a punishing head to head, and although Radwanska might not be the most renowned clay courter, she is certainly the favourite to book a place in the semi-finals.
Prediction: Radwanksa in two sets.
Roberta Vinci  v Laura Siegemund [Q] – First meeting
The dream continues for the second German in the field. Siegemund started very solidly against Simona Halep, who struggled with her breathing and really could not make an impact against the player with momentum. She is really just enjoying the moment, although that may well finally come to a halt at the hands of Roberta Vinci.
The Italian, almost certainly playing her last year on the tour, is playing so freely and relaxed, and much like Suarez Navarro has largely flown under the radar here, so should be ready to pull out the stops for a spot in the semi-final.
Prediction: Vinci in two sets.
The quarter-finals start at 2pm in Stuttgart, (1pm BST).
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