By Rickee Bhardwaj
German Kristina Barrois sprung a surprise in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The 30-year-old player from the local TEC Waldau Stuttgart club, who was given a wild card for the main draw, won 6-1, 6-4 on Monday against the Czech Lucie Safarova and will now meet the No. 8 seed Marion Bartoli (France).
"It was one of my best ever matches on clay," she said after her excellent start to the long-standing tournament in Stuttgart. The German's opening win has helped her on her way to achieving her ambitious goal: "I want to get into the Top 50," she said, "and I don't have much time at my age."
A win against Marion Bartoli in the Porsche Arena would move her significantly closer to her goal but it will not be easy against the world No. 12. The French woman comfortably won her opening match on Monday against the Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-1.
"It'll be really tough for me," said Kristina Barrois. "I watched a bit of her match afterwards as I've never played against her."
The remaining German players will start their campaign at the 721,000 dollar tournament, on Tuesday. Andrea Petkovic will face qualifier Tamira Paszek from Austria. Sabine Lisicki, who was also handed a wild card, will be up against the Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova. Finally, Julia Görges will play the Dutch qualifier Michaella Krajicek.
Kristina Barrois was not the only German to win on Monday. Together with her partner, Samantha Stosur from Australia, Sabine Lisicki defeated the all-German pairing of Scarlett Werner/Julia Schruff 6-1, 6-4 in the doubles. Emma Laine (Finland) along with Laura Siegmund also moved into the second round. They beat Ipek Senoglu (Turkey)/Selima Sfar (Tunisia) 3-6, 7-6 (2), 10:7. Kathrin Woerle (Germany) and Hungarian Katalin Marosi overcame Hana Birnerova (Czech Republic) and Teodora Mircic (Serbia) 6-3, 6-4.
The crowd in the Porsche Arena were treated to further highlights. One was the Berenberg Bank Classics, an exhibition match between the tennis icons Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander, which the Czechoslovakian-born American won 6-4, 3-6, 10-8. The crowd were also thrilled by the opening ceremony which included the presentation of the players and the traditional spectacular show performed by the artists from the Europa-park.
In the final match of the day, the Chinese Na Li, the world No. 7, beat Anastasija Sevastova from Lithuania 6-2, 6-3.