By Ros Satar, in Stuttgart
- Andrea Petkovic dashes German hopes again as she stumbles against Agnieszka Radwanska
- Former finalist Ana Ivanovic continues to struggle to find answers
STUTTGART, GERMANY – Two of the most popular players on tour continue to be confounded by their bad luck at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, as Andrea Petkovic lost momentum after a fall, and Ana Ivanovic failed to break her duck against Karolina Pliskova.
Agnieszka Radwanska  def. Andrea Petkovic 1-6 6-1 6-2
The top seed walked out to a crowd already buoyed by the win of German qualifier Laura Siegemund ousted a struggling Simona Halep 6-1 6-2, and they will have felt that another German sweep was on the cards as Petkovic roared through the first set for the loss of just one game.
Petkovic, who made it to the quarter-final in 2011, admitted to journalists that this is a tournament that harbours painful memories, after badly injuring her ankle the year later against Victoria Azarenka. The thought remains at the back of her mind and once more she took a sharp tumble as Radwanska struck back convincingly in the second set, having jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
The German at least got on the board, before Radwanska sealed the set to take things into a decider. With an immediate break at the start of the decider, it looked like Petkovic was cursed once more, but she found a way to stay in contention. It was not enough though – the slip on the line was probably enough to sit in the back of her mind, as she explained after the match:
“I’m very annoyed about this because I was playing really well. I think that probably one of the best sets I’ve played this year. And I felt like a lot of things were coming together and after the fall, it was so annoying because nothing really happened.
“It’s just that my back shifted a little bit and I felt very unsafe on my legs. It wasn’t that I had any pain or something but I was just more cautious in moving around and going into the corner. You know it’s helpful to move well against Aga Radwanska (laughs).”
Karolina Pliskova def. Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-2
This match possibly promised a lot – Ivanovic still searching for her first win over the Czech, who has put in a lot of hours on the court, and possibly was feeling the strain, judging from the taping around her leg. The first set was competitive, with neither being able to really dominate the other, and breaks a plenty, but Ivanovic was left rueing her chances missed, as Pliskova edged the first set, before really running away with the second.
Ivanovic said, after the match: “She is obviously a tough opponent for me and I felt like I was very competitive in the first set. I had a lot of chances but really I served very poorly today. And in the beginning I felt I had a lot of opportunities on the first serves but then she started to serve a lot better. And I really really struggled to hold my serve and that put a lot of pressure on the rest of my game.
“She is one of the best servers on the Tour. She places the ball really well. But it’s also very unpredictable. Also her shot is very hard to read, it’s quite flat and deep. So, obviously I struggle with it.”
Pliskova though admitted that while she knew she was in Ivanovic’s head as the Serb became a lot tighter in the second set, she will have to overcome the same dominating deficit when she faces the top seed Radwanska in the quarter-finals.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix continues at 2pm (1pm BST) with quarter-final previews here.
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