PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX
April 23-29, 2012
The 35th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was officially opened on Monday at a ceremony when the 28 main draw players were introduced to the Centre Court audience. Five German players will be appearing at the long-established tournament – and within a hair’s breadth it could have been six. Annika Beck, a member of the Porsche Talent Team Germany, came within two points in the qualifying final against Alize Cornet of securing a first ever main draw berth at the world class event. In the end, the Frenchwoman levelled the scores at 6-6 before, after 3 hours 11 minutes, comfortably winning the tie-break 7-1 to clinch the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 and a place in the tournament proper.
Germany’s Annika Beck could nevertheless leave the Porsche Arena’s Centre Court satisfied with her overall performance. Two wins against Aleksandra Wozniak (Canada) and the Rus-sian Anastasia Pivovarova in the top quality qualifying tournament are a respectable achievement for the 18-year-old world No. 178. The other four vacant berths were secured in front of a very good crowd in the Porsche Arena by the Austrian Yvonne Meusberger (7-6, 6-1 against Greta Arn/Hungary), the Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova (6-2, 4-6, 7-6 against Akgul Amanmuradova/Uzbekistan) and Russian Anna Chakvetadze, who beat Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 7-6.
The Ukrainian is nevertheless also in the main draw field as a lucky loser. She replaces the Italian Flavia Pennetta. The doubles winner of the 2010 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix injured her right wrist in the Fed Cup doubles the Czech Republic and had to retire. Though travelling to Stuttgart, she was forced to withdraw from the tournament after consulting a doctor.
Germany’s Kristina Barrois and Jasmin Wöhr sprang a surprise in the first round of the dou-bles against Francesca Schiavone/Roberta Vinci when winning easily 6-1, 6-4. In the second match of the day Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (Poland)/Shuai Zhang (China) defeated the German team of Mona Barthel and Tatjana Malek 6-2, 7-5.
A special delicacy was served up for the spectators before the opening ceremony. Playing in the Berenberg Bank Classics, tennis legends John McEnroe (USA) and Pat Cash (Australia) faced each other in a historical exhibition match on the Porsche Arena’s Centre Court. “Big Mac, who despite his 53 years is still in good shape, eventually lost the entertaining exhibition match against the seven years younger Australian 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in the match tie-break.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS