Saturday, 28 April 2012

Highs and Lows of Womens Tennis in Germany

Germany has been the centre of women's tennis in the past weeks with a home tie in the Fed Cup and currently the Stuttgart event boasting the world's top 8 players in the post qualifying draw of 28.

Unfortunately for the German crowd, results have not fallen the way anticipated or at least hoped.  Australians Sam Stosur and Jarmila Gajdosova stunned the favourites and earned their team a return spot in next year's elite world group.  Neither player had posted great results against top 20 players this season - Gajdosova in fact had lost just about all remaining confidence in her game.

Yet Sam won both her singles - the first against a very in-form Angelique Kerber, and Jarmila contributed one of her best ever performances at the highest level when overcoming big serving Julia Goerges, giving the Aussies a 2-0 advantage on Day One of the tie.

Andrea Petkovic, returning from injury, was Stosur's second victim, and 3-0 was sufficent for the big upset to come to fruition.

Come Stuttgart, and Goerges was defending her title at home.  She was joined in the draw by fellow Germans Petkovic, Kerber, and wildcards Kristina Barrois and fast rising star Mona Barthel (already a winner in Hobart this year).

The good news for the locals focused on Barthel and Kerber - Barthel knocked Ana Ivanovic out in the first round, then thrashed last years Roland Garros runner-up Marion Bartoli to reach the quarters.  The trouble Mona had previously caused Azarenka at Indian Wells (third set tie break for Vika to win) repeated itself as the world's best player battled her way to another three set win, 7-5 in the third.  Some of the best tennis to watch made itself available in this contest, and Barthel will likely become her nation's highest ranked player if not sometime this year, very soon after. 

Angelique Kerber also took a liking to disposing of a former number one when she surrendered a mere 3 games on route to embarrassing Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.  Only Petra Kvitova prevented the Kerber run from continuing to the semis, as the reigning Wimbledon champ extended her indoors success to 27 wins in a row in the quarter final.

The disappointment for Germany began with Julia Goerges losing to Sam Stosur in the second round - although the match was close, Julia would have wanted her title defence to last a little longer.

However the low light came with the nasty injury to Andrea Petkovic, who had been locked in a tense second set with Vika Azarenka before damaging an ankle badly enough to sideline her for 3 months and miss both the French Open and Wimbledon.

Yes, right at this moment not the best results for Germany, but plenty to look forward too with 4 players in the top 20, plus Mona Barthel not far behind.  The top ten by year end may well see 2 German faces.