STUTTGART, Germany – The giant-slaying run continued for Germany’s Laura Siegemund; the qualifier took out World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 6-2, to reach her first career WTA final at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
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The qualifier won her seventh match of the week – and her 14th straight set since coming to Stuttgart – and had all the answers against the top seed, who lost five games in a row from a 3-1 advantage in the opening set.
“Maybe I’m a similar type like her to other players,” Siegemund said after the match. “I didn’t focus on beating her with her own weapon or anything like that. I was focussing on my game which has been working well the whole week and didn’t find the switch to play aggressive that well. I was playing a little bit short at the beginning which gave her a lot of options but managed to fix the problem and found my game, a little bit later than the other matches but I found it.”
Serving at a stunning 90% off her first serve, Siegemund played a near-perfect match against Radwanska, hitting 34 winners to just 17 unforced errors – racing past the Pole’s own stats of 13 winners and 15 unforced. Converting a double break lead on her fifth break point opportunity of the fifth game of the second set, all looked clear for Siegemund when Radwanska enjoyed a brief resurgence, breaking back and making the veteran fight for the finish line.
“I felt like I’m in the flow and I don’t need to think, I’m going to make the right decisions. Sometimes you feel you’re not in the flow and then it’s good to have a good strategy every single point. But today I stood up of the break and I knew I had to trust my intuition and it worked well. Sometimes you get up from the bench differently. It’s very individual in that situation. But I was very focussed, I was very calm. If it was 5-5, I had a plan as well. So, I felt good.”
In the midst of a breakthrough season that has already seen her reach the third round of the Australian Open and quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open, Siegemund dutifully broke serve one last time and served out her spot in the final after one hour and 23 minutes.
“My tennis was not good enough, that’s for sure today,” Radwanska told press after the match. “Well, I think with that kind of game she is playing, the first shot is very important. And she was playing pretty much all in and every time she got the ball I think she had nothing to lose, so she just took the risk.
“I can’t complain; I had a really good start of the year, a couple of good results as you said, a couple of semi-finals and so far so good. Well, I hope I can keep going that way.”
Siegemund defeated three Top 10 players this week – Simona Halep and Roberta Vinci in addition to Radwanska – and her stellar run could have major implications on the German Olympic team; tentatively up to a new career-high ranking just outside the Top 40, Siegemund has leapfrogged countrywomen Sabine Lisicki, Anna-Lena Friedsam, Julia Goerges, and Mona Barthel to become the No.4 German behind Angelique Kerber (who she plays in the Stuttgart final), Andrea Petkovic, and Annika Beck. Kerber and Siegemund will be meeting for the first time, but the reigning Australian Open champion will be keen to defend the title she won for the first time in 2015.
In doubles, co-No.1s Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza appear to have gotten their groove back; Santina had struggled through early exits in Indian Wells and Miami, but are back in their first final since winning the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. Against Lisicki and Lucie Safarova, the reigning Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open champions made a solid case for completing the Santina Slam at the French Open with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the semifinals.
No.2 seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic won their first title of 2016 in Charleston, and got past former No.1 Kveta Peschke – who is playing her first tournament in over a year – and Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the second semifinal later on Saturday, 7-5, 5-7, 10-4. They will play Santina for a second straight title to bookend their Fed Cup heroics.
Siegemund’s Stuttgart run, punctuated by her 64 62 win over Radwanska today. 7 wins. pic.twitter.com/qmZ4Ed7adH
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 23, 2016