It has been a long time since an all-German Stuttgart final — never, actually — so Aussie Open champ Angie Kerber and qualifier Laura Siegemund enjoyed putting on an all-German show on Sunday for the home crowd.
Unfortunately Kerber enjoyed it much more, stomping the exhausted 28-year-old journeywoman 6-4, 6-0 for her second title of the year at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
“I was trying to stay focused after she really had a great start,” Kerber said after the match. “After a few games at the beginning I just started to feel my rhythm and that was I think the key, that I really started to hit the balls again and tried to believe in my game and myself. I was moving very well today and I think that was also very important against her, but I was trying to stay a little bit relaxed in the first set.”
Siegemund en route to the final ousted three Top 10 players, including world No. 2 Aggie Radwanska.
“I think mentally I could have pulled myself together for one more afternoon,” said Siegemund, who is now 0-1 in career finals, but will jump to a career-high No. 42 in the WTA rankings, putting her squarely in the running to compete for Germany at the Rio Olympics. “But it was [physical]. It’s also like, they say when you feel tired physically, mentally you are already very tired much before you know it. So there is some bad decision-making where you go like, ‘Jesus Christ, why this shot now?’”
Kerber, realizing her opponent was struggling, ground Siegemund into the clay in the second set.
“I was just trying to enjoy the atmosphere, the fans and to play here again in the finals,” Kerber said. “So, I was trying to relax a little bit, but also in the same moment to be focused. It helped me yesterday, so I was trying and hoping that it will help me today as well.”
Siegemund hit 22 winners to Kerber’s 16, but the story of the match was Kerber’s speed and ability to prolong points, committing just nine unforced errors.
Siegemund says she will take lessons from the final, and now working her way into larger WTA events on a regular basis via her new career-high rank.
“I really don’t want to put any pressure on myself,” she said. “I have learned to play freely and enjoy and I never want that have [that] taken away again. So, my main aim will be to stay balanced, stay with my feet on the ground, do good work and enjoy being out there on the tennis court.”
Stuttgart was Kerber’s first career successful title defense.
“To win my first Grand Slam and then winning here in front of my home crowd, that is the best start ever,” she said. “It’s so special to win a Grand Slam and the tournament here at home because everybody is here, I know all the faces and playing in front of this crowd is always amazing.”
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