Four matches, quadruple the speed: just like the Boxter 718, TTI is going head at maximum velocity, providing editions three, four, five and six all in one day. This is the the third edition of Stuttgart Express, recapping Angelique Kerber’s seventh successive win at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
In TTI’s words
Earlier this morning, Angelique Kerber spent half an hour on Centre Court warming up, hitting the ball crisply and looking as relaxed as possible — despite the media whirlwind at home over the past couple of days.
The theme continued as the German stepped out on her home-court against Carla Suarez Navarro at 2 pm on Friday afternoon in front of a sold out Porsche Arena.
Kerber quickly shifted into a high gear, breaking Suarez Navarro to grab an early 3-0 lead and put a lot of scoreboard pressure on her Spanish opponent. Suarez Navarro didn’t play badly in the opening set at all, but it was the No. 2 seed who looked focused and committed to every ball from the get go.
At 5-2, Kerber once again hit the gas pedal just that little bit harder in order to break the No. 7 seed for the set, much to the delight of the crowd.
The second set was a slightly tighter affair — mainly because the Spaniard managed to raise her level, and held on to a critical game early on in which she saved three break points — Kerber, on the contrary, largely cruised through her service games, as she faced only a single break point in the opening set and won 27 out of 35 points behind her first serve.
Once again, it was the home crowd favorite who pulled clear, breaking Suarez Navarro for a 4-2 lead. Kerber’s only hiccup came when couldn’t close out the match on her own serve at 5-3, but regrouped quickly afterwards for a 6-2, 6-4 win that never looked in danger — much like their previous meeting of 2016 in Brisbane.
In Kerber’s words
On how important it was to have a day off
“Yeah the day off was important for me…I found my rhythm today and I was very comfortable on court. I didn’t do a lot yesterday — I got some treatment and had a walk outside.”
On facing Suarez Navarro, someone she knows very well and someone she lost to two years ago in Stuttgart
“I know what was going to happen — I played Carla often in the past and we often practice together and that’s why I knew I had to play my own game; I felt comfortable from the first point onwards and I knew I had to be aggressive and that’s what I did. At the end it was a bit tight, but I was glad I was able to break her for the 6-4 in the second set.”
“I know she beat me here two years ago, so I was trying to take my revenge. It was a good match but still at the end of the second set it was close and I know I must play against her until the last ball because she’s always tough and she’s always fighting.”
On finding the right mixture between her trademark counterpunching and adding a little extra aggression:
“Yeah, I think right now I’m feeling I’m in the middle, you know, that I know when I should go for it, [and] when it’s better to go a little bit back and just a little bit. So I think, yeah, I’m really focusing on my game — I feel when the time is [right] to go for it.”
On feeling the energy rather than succumbing to the weight of expectation
“You know, it’s more that they really give me the energy, that I go out there and feel the support and the amazing crowd out there — I mean, it was a full house today and this is for what I’m playing — playing in front of all the fans and it’s always a great feeling. I don’t feel the pressure; I just feel the energy they are giving to me.”
On possibly defending a title for the first time in her career:
“That is definitely my goal; this is a special week and a special tournament for me. That’s why I will give everything I have so far and try to play the next match and maybe the second one and then of course, trying to defend my title.”