In the all-German women’s singles final at Stuttgart’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Sunday, April 24, 2016, Australian Open and defending champion Angelique Kerber defeated Laura Siegemund to clinch her second WTA title of the current tennis season. However, emerging as tournament’s Cinderella, Siegemund played inspired tennis all week and outclassed three top 10 women’s players, including world no.2 Agnieszka Radwanska. Against Kerber too, Siegmund showed her determination by leading the world no.3 on two occasions but Kerber proved too much in the end. Even in defeat, Siegemund scored more winners than Kerber but missed out on key points against the eventual champion. In the women’s doubles final however, India’s Sania Mirza and Swiss Martina Hingis lost to Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. It was the second final entry for the top seeds, whose last win the Ladies Trophy at St. Petersburg in February 2016.
At age 28, Laura Siegemund cannot be counted as a youngster, but her form at Stuttgart belied her age as she went from strength to strength as the tournament progressed. Coming from qualifying rounds, Siegemund opened her Stuttgart campaign with a victory over Russia’s world no.26 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and shocked no.3 seed Simona Halep in second round with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 victory. Siegemund entered the semifinal by defeating sixth-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-4 and came face-to-face with second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the semifinal. Keeping the momentum intact, Siegemund finished her giant-killing act by beating Radwanska 6-4, 6-2 and reached her maiden WTA final.
World no.3 Angelique Kerber had reached the semifinal by defeating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinal. Kerber had a powerful semifinal opponent in Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova. The Czech herself had been moving well in the tournament and her match against Kerber was closely fought. The two players shared the first two sets before Kerber managed to get the better of Kvitova with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.
In Sunday’s final, Siegemund started off well to break Kerber early and took a 3-0 lead. But Kerber soon assumed control and responded by breaking Siegemund three times in the first set before clinching the issue at 6-4. Siegemund looked out-of-sorts presumably because of a back injury that needed a medical timeout early in the second set. After that, Siegemund ceased to be the same player and her court movements appeared labored. When the second set resumed, Kerber dictated terms against a laden-footed Siegemund and quickly established a 5-0 lead. It was just a matter of time for Kerber and her 6-4, 6-0 victory came when Siegemund’s sliced backhand could only find the net.
Women’s top-seeded doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis continued with their poor run of successes. To their credit SanTina reached a WTA final for the first time since February 2016, when they won the Ladies Trophy at St. Petersburg. It was the Indo-Swiss duo’s 40th straight match-win as they beat Vera Dushevina/Barbora Krejcikova in the title game. However since then, the stars of the Co-No.1 have been on the decline and it was only at Stuttgart that they could enter a Tour final. Playing against the French pair of Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, Sania/Hingis took the first set before Garcia/Mladenovic bounced back. Fresh from their recent title win at Charleston, the Frenchwomen applied pressure to take the second set and also the match tiebreak to finish victors at 6-2, 1-6, 6-10. With this win, the second-seeded Garcia/Mladenovic have made it two in a row on the WTA World Tour this season.
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