Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kerber continues clay court tear and wins Stuttgart

When Angie Kerber won Charleston the week before last, she was just warming up. Today, in front of her home crowd, the German star won Stuttgart and had a white Porsche added to her trophy and flower bouquet.

A final played between Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki was bound to have long rallies and excitement, and this one did. Wozniacki, who has played some excellent clay court tennis this week, took the first set easily, as Kerber appeared somewhat heavy-legged and unable to make the ball penetrate into the corners as she had earlier in the tournament. She looked tired, and her opponent (who never looks tired) was very much in control, winning the opening set 6-3.

That changed in the second set, when Kerber suddenly seemed to wake up from a stupor and hit the ball faster and harder. With a little confidence carrying her, she also began to add some variety to her game and to make Wozniacki run vertically as well as horizontally. Kerber took that set 6-1.

This match had "tight third set" written all over it, and that, too, turned out to be reality. Wozniacki went up an early break and eventually, led 5-3, when Kerber threw everything she had at the Dane and broke her. It was a true turning point, as Kerber went on to hold and then to break Wozniacki again. It took her four match points, but the KareBear prevailed with 7-5 in the third.

The trophy ceremony, always a good one in Stuttgart, was especially emotional since a German player won the tournament (someone needs to tell the emcee, however, that Stuttgart is not the first clay tournament of the season). Kerber gave her new Porsche a spin, after telling the crowd that her victory wouldn't have been possible without them.

This is Kerber's fifth WTA title and her eleventh consecutive match win. She is now 6-4 against Wozniacki, and 2-0 against her on clay.

The doubles title went to 3rd seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, who defeated 2nd seeds Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-3. This is the second title the pair has won; they also won the 2015 Australian Open.

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