By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Teen stuns Alizé Cornet to reach the draw of WTA Premier in Stuttgart
- Stacked field has eight of the top 10
STUTTGART, GERMANY – In a field that features most of the World Top 10, 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk proved she is the real deal once more.
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In the usual state of flux at WTA Stuttgart immediately post-Fed Cup action, the day belonged to 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk who proved that her good run at the start of the year in the Australian Open was no fluke.
After starting the year with a $25K first round loss in Playford, the teen admitted she had been disbelieving of her team’s faith in her when she arrived in Melbourne. She won three rounds of qualifying and reached the third round, where compatriot Elina Svitolina ended her run.
Since then she has put in the hard yards back in the lower tier of the circuit, winning a $60K (Burnie) and reaching the final of the Zhuhai $60K and the semi-final in Shenzhen (also $60K).
Those kinds of wins have given her the confidence that took her through two rounds of qualifying here, and sets her up against German wildcard Antonia Lottner. One could even argue that with time on the slick indoor clay at the Porsche Arena sets up Kostyuk well for another decent run.
She said, during her post match press conference: “When I saw my draw here first round and second round I’d better play against someone really strong because like you play almost like full, you try to play your best when you play against high ranked players and when I saw my draw I was like ‘no it’s bad draw.
“But I knew I’m going to pass the qualies because I had a really good draw because other girls they had a tough draw and I had a good one. Well in main draw I may only play against high-ranked players because or it’s going to be a qualifier or it’s going to be Lottner.”
Later in the day, No. 4 seed Svitolina came in to do her pre-tournament press conference, and with perhaps more than a little sense of pride, spoke about her teenage Fed Cup team-mate and fellow country-woman.
“I don’t think we are surprised anymore because we have seen that she is a good player. She can produce really strong shots and she can play a really good game. So, it’s funny it’s not a surprise anymore. I can see her improving and playing great tennis and beating some really good players.”
Svitolina makes her debut here, having spent the preamble to the European clay court season in the past at Marrakech or more recently Istanbul, where she won the title last year.
She said: “This tournament is bigger. So, now I have a chance to play for more points and to get more points. That’s why I’m trying to prepare well. This is the first tournament on clay for most of the people. So, that’s why it’s going to be very interesting and I’m looking forward to starting the tournament. Definitely, for me the clay court season is one of the seasons that I’m looking forward to.
“I had a longer preparation. I had some time off, then I was preparing in London. With my team we were trying just to be physically ready because clay courts are very tricky for the body and you have to put really lots of work in before you start to go on the court, and then when you’re actually on court you have to transfer all the work that you have been doing.”
Kostyuk plays on Centre Court at 11:30am (10:30am BST)
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