wta Nürnberg

WTA Nurnberg: Petkovic Ousts Jankovic as Halep Rallies Back to Defeat Safarova

(June 14, 2013) Friday match play at Nurnberg saw German wild card Andrea Petkovic defeat top tournament seed Jelena Jankovic in a 90-minute match. Despite the 6-4, 6-3 score, Petkovic rallied from an early break in both sets and the two faced a combined 20 break point chances.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed right now,” Petkovic said. “I think I played a really great match today. I didn’t think it would be possible because I was really tired after yesterday, so I pulled all of my power and strength that was left together and managed to put in a good performance out there today.”

Petkovic admitted earlier this week that she contemplated retirement recently, and now she will vie for her third title after winning Bad Gastein in 2009 and Stasbourg in 2011.

“It’s really absurd – two weeks ago I was thinking about quitting tennis because I was playing so badly. I wasn’t feeling good on the court and I was doubting myself a lot. But here I am now. The good thing about going through all of that is I appreciate everything much more now. I’m very thankful and grateful for all of this. I never guessed I would get a second chance after all of my injuries, but here it is.”

Simona Halep, the No. 7 seed, took out Lucie Safarova in the other semifinal and will compete in her fourth final on Saturday, and will be looking for her first title.

Thursday and Friday gallery by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

[nggallery id=129]

WTA Nürnberg Gallery: Petkovic Ousts Goerges; Jankovic and Beck Thru to QFs

(June 12, 2013) World No. 18 and the top seed this week at WTA Nürnberg, Jelena Jankovic reached the quarterfinals without much resistance. She finished her darkness-delayed first round match against Arantxa Rus 6-4, 6-2, and followed it up with another breezy 6-2, 6-0 win over Johanna Larsson.

The Serb will next take on No. 6 seed Lourdes Dominguez Lino who ousted Mandy Minella, and the winner will face either Andrea Petkovic or Annika Beck in the semifinals.

In the bottom half of the draw only two seeds remained, No. 5 Lucie Safarova and No. 7 Simona Halep. Galina  Voskoboeva defeated No. 3 seed Alize Cornet and Polona Hercog rounded out the quarterfinals.

Doubles – First Round Results
(1) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Beygelzimer/Bratchikova (UKR/RUS) 61 62
Krunic/Piter (SRB/POL) d. (2) Goerges/Minella (GER/LUX) 61 62
(3) Panova/Thorpe (RUS/FRA) d. Pegula/Plipuech (USA/THA) 63 63
Olaru/Solovyeva (ROU/RUS) d. (4) Birnerova/Buryachok (CZE/UKR) 62 62
Duque-Mariño/Pereira (COL/BRA) d. Craybas/Savchuk (USA/UKR) 60 46 108 (Match TB)
Klemenschits/Klepac (AUT/SLO) d. Muhammed/Will (USA/USA) 62 76(4)
(WC) Barrois/Friedsam (GER/GER) d. Kichenok/Linette (UKR/POL) 75 62

Wednesday match play gallery by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

[nggallery id=128]

Andrea Petkovic Dishes on Her Most Embarrassing Moment, Her Greatest Strength and Her “Other Big Love”

(June 12, 2013) Possessing one of the most charming and entertaining personalities in professional tennis, former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic is back on her way up. [Wednesday gallery at bottom]

Riddled with injuries during her career, she admitted earlier this week that she briefly contemplated retirement after a tough loss during the French Open qualifying rounds. Her coach lovingly laughed it off, and the 25-year-old German followed up her heartbreak by winning the following tournament in Marseille, en route not dropping a set.

With a wild card entry into this week’s WTA event in Nurnberg, Petkovic took out countrywoman and long-time friend Julia Goerges on Wednesday, and will return to the top 100 for the first time since the fall of 2012. The last time previously that Petkovic was outside the top 100 was in June 2009, where a similar run in Marseille again launched her back into the top 100. It was also announced today that Petkovic has been granted a main draw wild card for this month’s Wimbledon Championships.

After her win over Goerges in Nurnberg, Petkovic sat down to dish on her funniest fan encounter, most embarrassing moment involving a certain tennis legend, and what she would be doing if she weren’t a tennis player. Learn more about the always smiling “Petko” below!

What is your most memorable tennis moment?
My most memorable tennis moment is probably the first time I played quarterfinals in a Grand Slam (at the 2011 Australian Open). I beat [Maria] Sharapova in the fourth round, and it was a really really good match of mine. She didn’t play her best definitely, but I played really well.

How did you first start playing tennis, or what is your earliest tennis memory?
My dad is a tennis coach, so he brought me to tennis. My earliest tennis memory is at the club where I played. There was also field hockey there and all the cool girls were playing hockey, and I was hitting balls against the wall with my tennis racket. (Laughs)

What is your greatest strength?
I think my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness, as it is often in life. Because I am very ambitious, people sometimes say I’m over ambitious. I’m never satisfied with the way I play, with the way I win matches. I always want more, which is really good for tennis. But sometimes it can also be very bad for my body, as everybody could see with my injuries. I think I learned from it, but I still try to keep this ambitious (attitude).

What is the strangest or funniest encounter you have had with a fan?
Oh, I just had a really nice encounter! There were actually three or four fans and they all dressed up as me. (Laughs) They had these wigs and it was now in Paris. They gave me a book where they had all the pictures they collected of me, I think, over the last three or four years. And they called themselves the “crazy-razzis” because I’m Petkorazzi. They were really nice girls.

What is your most embarrassing tennis moment?
There are so many! Well, I think the most embarrassing is definitely when I played against [Vera] Zvonareva (in the fourth round) at the 2010 US Open night session on Arthur Ashe stadium. And before my warm-up, John McEnroe came to me and he was like, “Good luck, Petko.” I was so nervous. He said to me, “I’m going to be commentating on your match.” I was so nervous that I lost 6-1, 6-2. I didn’t put in one ball! I was just thinking about John McEnroe during the entire time of the match!

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?
I would definitely invite Gael Monfils, Novak Djokovic because he’s really funny, and Ana Ivanovic for the beauty.

If you were not a pro tennis player, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question. Well, I studied literature and philosophy and also had some interest in journalism, so maybe I would have gone to journalism school. But there was a big chance I could have studied law as I was also very interested in law.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would definitely learn to draw because I think I’m a big big fan of art and I always love to go to museums and galleries. I picture myself in a nice garden with the sun, doing expressionist art. But unfortunately, I cannot draw at all, so I would love to be able to draw.

What is the one thing that scares you?
After my injuries, I definitely have to say, more injuries because it was the toughest time in my life. I love tennis so much and it was just taken away from me. That was one of the most bitter memories in my life, so I’m definitely afraid of injuries.

What are two things you could not live without?
Definitely, definitely my family is one because I’m very close to my family, especially my sister. And on the other hand, I couldn’t live without books because they are my “other life” that I live. I really like to read and I always carry three or four books around with me. That’s my other big love.

What is the most extravagant thing you ever bought with your tournament prize money?
I’m not a big buyer of designer (things) but I really like the Helmut Lang jacket. And after I played the quarters at the US Open, I bought it, and it was quite expensive – I won’t tell the price! But I’m still happy with it, although I never wear it because I don’t it to be dirty! (Laughs)

What are your goals for the year in terms of progress or ranking?
After my injuries, I really don’t have any goals. I just take it day by day, and I’m so happy to be back on court and just be playing. I’m just trying to find my old strength again and feeling good on court, and that’s all!

Wednesday match play photos by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

[nggallery id=127]

WTA Nürnberg Gallery: Goerges, Safarova, Petkovic, Minella Advance

(June 11, 2013) The first day of main draw play at the WTA International event in Nürnberg was plagued by rain interruptions, but all but one match was able to finish when the sun returned.

After winning a close first set against Alexandra Cadantu in 55 minutes, German Julia Goerges and her opponent were forced to wait out a delay caused by heavy rain.

“It’s very difficult to go in and out and not knowing when the match will go on again,” said Goerges.

Goerges eventually won in straight sets, as did countrywoman Andrea Petkovic over Sofia Arvidsson. The results mean that the two friends will now face each other in the next round.

 “This is a toughest thing,” said Goerges. “But I’m looking forward to the second round.”

Tuesday gallery at bottom by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm features Mandy Minella, Lucie Safarova, Annika Beck, Jessica Pegula, Nina Bratchikova, Yuliya BeygelzimerSesil Kratantcheva, Sofia Arvidsson, Julia Goerges, Alexandra Cadantu, and Andrea Petkovic.

Results  Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Singles – First Round
(3) Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 63 64
(4) Julia Goerges (GER) d. Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) 64 75
(5) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) 62 76(9)
(6) Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) d. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 75 63
(8) Annika Beck (GER) d. Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 62 62
Johanna Larsson (SWE) d. (LL) Yulia Beygelzimer (UKR) 63 67(3) 75
María-Teresa Torró-Flor (ESP) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 46 64 64
Mandy Minella (LUX) d. Jessica Pegula (USA) 75 46 63
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. (Q) Alexandra Panova (RUS) 62 62
Karin Knapp (ITA) d. (WC) Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) 26 76(0) 75
Julia Cohen (USA) d. (Q) Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 76(2) 63
(WC) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 63 62

Suspended due to darkness
(1/WC) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) leads Arantxa Rus (NED) 64

Doubles – First Round
Hrdinova/Irigoyen (CZE/ARG) d. (WC) Siegemund/Zander (GER/GER) 64 76(3)

[nggallery id=125]

Get to Know … 19-year-old WTA Tennis Player Annika Beck

(June 11, 2013) Rising German star Annika Beck is having a breakthrough season on the WTA Tour. This week, the 19-year-old reached a career-high ranking of world No. 56 after her second round appearance at last week’s French Open. One year ago, she captured the Girls’ Singles title at the same prestigious Slam. [Tuesday Nürnberg gallery of Beck at bottom]

In April, the 19-year-old made the semifinals of the Katowice Open and in her following tournament, took world No. 8 Petra Kvitova to three sets.

Seeded eighth at this week’s WTA International event in Nürnberg, Beck won her first round match against Nina Bratchikova in just over an hour, and afterward answered some fun questions for Tennis Grandstand.

Get to know the bubbly German as she talks Serena Williams, getting her driver’s license and the one person she would most want to meet. Hint: it’s a pop singer!

What is your most memorable tennis moment?
I think it’s just from one week ago. I had a great match against Victoria Azarenka in Paris on Suzanne Lenglen Court. It’s a big feeling to play in front of such a big crowd. It was a great experience.

How did you first start playing tennis, or what is your earliest tennis memory?
I started when I was 5 years old at a tennis camp in my hometown. I did some other sports beside tennis, but now I’m just a professional tennis player.

What is your greatest strength?
On court, it’s definitely my movement. I move pretty well and fast. Of course, my groundstrokes as well. Off court, I would say, I’m just a sympathetic person and open for everything.

What is your biggest weakness?
I would say, it’s still my serve, but I am trying hard to improve it.

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?
I would invite, of course, Roger Federer. He’s a really nice guy. He’s so relaxed and cool, and he’s just himself. Then I would invite Serena Williams because I didn’t have any [contact] with her until now, and I hope I can learn more about her. And who else would I invite? … Oh, I would invite Pete Sampras because maybe he could show me some tricks for my serve! 

If you were not a pro tennis player, what would you be doing?
I would think that I would be studying. Well, it’s still my aim to study medicine someday. I hope I can I do it the next few years, but it’s difficult with the tennis life, so I hope I can do it afterwards.

What is 1 thing that scares you?
I’m pretty afraid of spiders. I don’t like those crawly little animals.

What are 2 things you could not live without? 
I could not live without … my phone! It keeps me updated about everything. I tried a few weeks ago to stay away one day without my phone, and it was really terrible for me! I was really missing something to do! The other thing is my parents. They have been helping me a lot, financially and supporting me at every moment. It would be pretty hard for me if I don’t have them.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Once I said I want to change a day in my life with Jennifer Lopez, so maybe [her]. She’s a great singer. She looks unbelievable. She does great concerts. I’ve never been to her concert yet, but I really want to go one day, so I hope I can make it!

What is the most extravagant things you have bought with your tournament prize money?
I paid my driver’s license with one of my prize money [winnings], but it’s not an extravagant thing. Others buy houses or cars, but I don’t have that kind of prize money to do it now.

What are your goals for the year in terms of progress or ranking?
I don’t have any aims of the rankings because I just want to improve my game – get more variety in my game as well, and work on my serve and groundstrokes. And I hope everything will come with that.

Gallery from Nürnberg match play on Tuesday by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

[nggallery id=123]

Andrea Petkovic: Brief Flirt with Retirement After French Open Loss; Overcoming Fear of Injury

(June 10, 2013) After failing to qualify for this year’s French Open, former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic admitted to briefly contemplating retirement after her loss in Paris.

“I sat on the bench next to my coach and said, ‘I quit,’” stated the 25-year-old in Nürnberg on Monday.

In the summer of 2011, Petkovic broke into the top 10 for the first time and her career finally seemed to be on track after injuries had plagued her earlier in her life. But unfortunately for the German, the success once again halted there.

Petkovic was forced to miss much of the first half of the 2012 season with a back injury, and then in just her second match back, she suffered a horrible ankle injury in Stuttgart in April. After three-and-a-half months of rehabilitation, Petkovic returned and played seven tournaments to end the season. Then at the Hopman Cup exhibition at the end of December, she suffered a meniscus tear in her right knee which kept her off the tour for another two months.

After scraping for points and wild cards since her ranking had taken a plunge, Petkovic’s optimistic attitude took her to the third round of both Miami and Charleston this year. But the progress ceased again as she withdrew from Charleston with a calf strain, admitting to “disappointment and anger” at the situation, and then lost in the first round of Stuttgart and the first round of qualifying in Madrid.

She then went on to lose in the second round of qualifying at the French Open to China’s Yi-Miao Zhou in three close sets, which caused her to briefly contemplate retirement.

Luckily for Petkovic, her long-time coach, Petar Popovic didn’t take her seriously.

“He just laughed and a few days later [I] picked up my racquet again,” commented the German.

On Sunday, Petkovic won the ITF tournament in Marseille without dropping a set against her higher-ranked opponents, even dishing out a double bagel to young Puerto Rican Monica Puig in the semifinals.

“I am very relieved that my body has been able to survive those five matches in a row,” said Petkovic of her results in Marseille. “Everything has held up, even the knee. I have refueled myself with a lot of confidence, especially in my body. I can say that I have overcome the fear of injuring myself again. The fact is that I feel that I am now moving again as in my best moments.”

Petkovic takes on Sofia Arvidsson in the first round of Nürnberg, and if she wins, will take on compatriot Julia Goerges in the next round.

The 24-year-old Goerges has overcome her own share of injuries, most recently the wrist problem that continued into her first round loss at the French Open. But there is good news on the horizon.

“The wrist is stable,” Goerges said before her first round match against Romanian Alexandra Cadantu. “I’m on a good path. It’s almost strange to be able to hit the ball normal again, without having any pain.”

Photos from Monday’s WTA Nürnberg joint pre-tournament press conference with Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic by Rick Gleijm for Tennis Grandstand. Stay tuned all week for daily player and match galleries.

[nggallery id=122]

WTA Nürnberg Photo Gallery: Best Photos from Qualies Saturday

(June 8, 2013) The WTA event in Nürnberg is kicking off its first year and is now the second tournament being played in Germany in addition to Stuttgart.

This year’s No. 1 seed is former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic who is just coming off of a quarterfinal run in Roland Garros. She took a last minute wildcard, and with a good performance in Nürnberg may be able to overtake the 12th spot from her compatriot Ana Ivanovic in the Wimbledon seedings later this month. Joining her as fellow wildcards are former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic and another German Dinah Pfizenmaier.

The qualification first round kicked off today and below you’ll find photos of Anna-Lena Friedsam, Dia Evtimova, Aleksandra Krunic, Diana Marcinkevica, Chiara Scholl, Raluca Olaru, Katarzyna Piter, Tereza Smitkova, Valeria Solovyeva, Carina Witthoeft and Maryna Zanevska.

Check back tomorrow and all week for more Nürnberg galleries from our Tennis Grandstand photographer, Rick Gleijm

[nggallery id=120]