Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Is WTA Tour’s Start To Spring European Clay Season

Barbora Krejcikova and Anke Huber (photo: Porsche AG)

STUTTGART/WASHINGTON, April 15, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

The 47th edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the WTA Tour’s annual start to the spring European red clay season, begins Monday in Stuttgart. Fans flocking this week to Porsche Arena will be in for a treat as eight of the current Top 10 players are entered.

Two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek of Poland and three-time runner-up Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus are the top two seeds and will see action later in the week following a first-round bye. No. 3 seed Coco Gauff of the United States and No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan round out the top four seeds and also have byes into the second round.

“The players like coming to Stuttgart,” said Operating Tournament Director Anke Huber, in a pre-tournament interview. ‟We also go to great lengths to make sure they feel at home here and can display their best tennis.”

Among many interesting first-round pairings, 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu of Great Britain will play three-time major champion and 2015 and 2016 Stuttgart winner Angelique Kerber of Germany in a battle of former Grand Slam titlists, who are both Porsche Brand Ambassadors. Each received wild cards into this year’s main draw, and Kerber will be playing in her home country for the first time since giving birth to her daughter Liana last year.

Also, there’s an all-Italian showdown between this year’s Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini and qualifier Sara Errani. Finally, wild card Laura Siegemund, who won the 2017 Stuttgart title in her hometown and more recently guided Germany into the Billie Jean King Cup Finals by winning twice against Brazil over the weekend, will face No. 27 Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine.

Monday’s opening day in Porsche Arena, starting not before 6:30 p.m. (Central European), is highlighted by former World No. 2 Paula Badosa of Spain against qualifier Diana Shnaider of Russia, followed by 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic taking on World No. 19 Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

On Sunday, Krejcikova appeared at the main draw ceremony with Huber and one-by-one drew the names of the participants. Soon, the 28-player draw came into focus. Each competitor not only has her eye on prize money and points, but also the grand prize awarded the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix champion: a brand-new Porsche Taycan 4S Sport Turismo.

‟We’re naturally again very satisfied. With title holder Iga Swiatek, the reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff, who last year won her first Grand Slam in New York, in the line-up, the world’s top players will all be here,” said Huber. “All-in-all, we will be presenting eight Top 10 players and nine Grand Slam champions in the Porsche Arena. That’s pretty respectable.”

Errani leads quartet of qualifiers into main draw

The 28-player draw was filled by four qualifiers – Italy’s Sara Errani, Diana Shnaider of Russia, Sachia Vickery of the United States and Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

The 102nd-ranked Errani upset No. 26 and top seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 6-2, in two hours and 20 minutes, thanks to converting five of nine break points.

On Monday, luck of the draw, No. 134 Vickery and 74th-ranked Sasnovich will face each other in the first round, while No. 62 Shnaider will oppose former No. 2 Paula Badosa of Spain, who is now ranked 93rd.

Around the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Visitors to this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will be feted with a variety of side events, including themed days and the world-famous Stuttgart Ballet’s performance ahead of the final at Porsche Arena. Also, photographer Radka Leitmeritz’s works belonging to the Porsche-supported Court Supremes art project will also be on display.

A brand-new show tournament at 5 p.m. Monday will enable visitors to watch stars from a variety of different sports playing tennis. Tennis will be represented by the Porsche Brand Ambassador and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu and former German player Andrea Petkovic as well as Porsche Talent Team youngsters. Their doubles partners will be professionals from the VfB Stuttgart and Stuttgarter Kickers (football), MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (basketball) and Bietigheim Steelers (ice hockey) clubs, which are all partners of the Porsche Turbo for Talents initiative.

Porsche to donate 200 euros for every ace

In conjunction with the Aces for Charity fundraiser, Porsche will donate 200 euros for every ace to its charity partners, Stiftung Agapedia and Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe. The money will go towards financing educational programs for refugees, especially children and adolescents from Ukraine.

Sunday’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix qualifying results

[6] A. Sasnovich d. [4] O. Dodin (FRA), 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

[7] S. Vickery (USA) d. [3] G. Minnen (BEL), 7-6 (2), 6-3.

[5] S. Errani (ITA) d. [1] A. Kalinskaya, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 6-2.

[2] D. Shnaider d. [8] S. Bejlek (CZE) 0-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Monday’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix order of play

Centre Court (not before 6:30 p.m.)
[Q] D. Shnaider vs P. Badosa (ESP).
V. Kudermetova vs B. Krejcikova (CZE).

Court 1 (starts at 2 p.m.)
A. Potapova / V. Zvonareva vs [4] A. Muhammad (USA) / A. Sutjiadi (INA).
[Q] S. Vickery (USA) vs [Q] A. Sasnovich.