>> Saturday, April 28, 2012
In the 2012 PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX, in STUTTGART, Germany world #2 Maria Sharapova and #3 Petra Kvitova won Friday night quarterfinal battles in Stuttgart to advance to the semifinal round. Their wins, along with Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska's three set victories from earlier in the day, means the Top 4 players in the world have all made the semifinals of a tennis tournament. This is a rare occurrence in the WTA these days and hasn't happened since July 2009 at Wimbledon. Watch the semifinal action live between Sharapova and Kvitova here.
Azarenka, Sharapova, Kvitova and Radwanska are ranked No.1 through No.4 - it is the first time the Top 4 players in the world are all in the semifinals of a WTA event since Wimbledon in 2009, when Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Elena Dementieva made up the final four (they were No.1 through No.4 at the time). The Williams sisters made the final, Serena winning.
The No.2 seed Maria Sharapova's battle with No.5 seed Sam Stosur was an epic fight that started the night session. Though Sharapova had won nine of their 10 previous meetings, Stosur's win did come in their most recent meeting, and the World No.5 had won six of her last eight matches against Top 2 players. After winning the first set Stosur looked like she had the match put away in the second set, breaking for 5-3 and getting to match point on a Sharapova double fault; but Sharapova dug herself out of that hole, eventually dug out that second set, got the only break of the third set in the 11th game, then promptly served it out at 15. Final score: 67(5) 76(5) 75. The whole match took three hours, one minute.
Stosur had won two Fed Cup matches on this court over the weekend, and leaves Stuttgart with many more positives than disappointments. "It's been a great time here, obviously the Fed Cup first then three very good matches here," she said. "It sucks losing, but when you play as well as I did tonight, you can't be too hard on yourself. It's disappointing but I know I gave it everything."
In the second night match No.3 seed Petra Kvitova defeated the last remaining German in the draw, Angelique Kerber, 64 64, running her indoor winning streak to 27 matches in a row and now winning 14 of her last 15 quarterfinal matches on the WTA (her only loss in that stretch coming in the 2010 Australian Open quarters to Vera Zvonareva). "It was important to serve and return well in this match because she plays very well from the baseline," Kvitova said of Kerber. "I'm looking forward for the semifinals here now - it's the first time I'm playing this tournament and to be in the semifinals is really good. It will be a good match with Sharapova."
Sharapova and Kvitova are tied in their head-to-head series, 2-2. Kvitova overwhelmed Sharapova in straight sets to win her first major at Wimbledon in July last year but it was Sharapova who prevented Kvitova from gaining the #1 ranking by beating the Czech player in the semifinals of the Australian Open this January. Watch Stuttgart 2012 semifinal live online action featuring Sharapova vs Kvitova through TennisTv.com.