The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart witnessed a major shock as the fourth seed and last year’s semi-finalist Simona Halep was bundled out by German qualifier Laura Siegemund 1-6, 2-6 in the second round on Thursday.
The 2014 French Open runner-up was playing her first match at this venue this year and was also suffering from an ankle injury that she picked up during her last weekend’s Fed Cup assignment. But that should not take the sheen away from the 28-year-old Siegemund, who played some inspiring tennis to notch the biggest triumph of her career.
The World No. 71 was in imperious form as she made a mockery of the rankings and attacked the Romanian at every opportunity. Halep looked subdued and her movement was clearly hampered as she hit only three winners whereas the aggressive German fired 28 winners past her.
The only spark that Halep managed to show was when she broke back Siegemund to 2-2 in the second set after going a set and break down. But the Stuttgart native wrested the momentum soon afterwards and wrapped up the match in 1 hour 9 minutes.
She will next face the sixth seed Roberta Vinci, who beat former winner Julia Georges, 6-3, 6-4.
Tough wins for Kvitova and Radwanska
The top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and the fifth seed Petra Kvitova too faced some stiff resistance from their respective opponents but managed to avert defeat.
The two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova had the tougher road to victory as she saved as many as three match points to narrowly edge past World No. 31 Monica Niculescu, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. The win set up a mouthwatering quarter-final showdown with third seed Garbine Muguruza. The two were involved in an enthralling match at the WTA Finals in Singapore last October.
Radwanska too was put to a stern test by the 30th ranked Andrea Petkovic and it was a while before the Pole could find her rhythm to grab the 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 win. Her next opponent is World No. 18 Karolina Pliskova, who thrashed former runner-up Ana Ivanovic, 6-4, 6-2.
Seventh seed Carla Suarez Navarro blew away German wildcard Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-2, 6-2 to book a quarter-final meeting with the defending champion Angelique Kerber.
Mirza-Hingis cruise into the semis
Doubles top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reached the semi-finals by steamrolling the Czech pair of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 6-3. They will cross swords with the Czech-German pair of Lucie Safarova and Sabine Lisicki in the last-four contest.