Defending Wimbledon champion Simona Halep withdrew from her planned return to the WTA Tour at the inaugural Bad Homburg presented by Engel & Völkers tournament, after missing the French Open due to a calf injury.
I was happy with my performance, I have to say,. I served really well, I got broken only once – which is a surprise for me sometimes! I think I returned well when I needed to. It’s the same game, the same story on grass: who can play the first aggressive shot is always in the advantage, and I think I was able to do that a tad more often today. Andrea Petkovic
The Romanian’s title defence at The Championships now seems in serious jeopardy.
“I will not compete because my calf is not ready for a competition,” Halep posted on Saturday. “I feel sorry about that and sad, because it’s a beautiful place… I will keep practicing because I really want to be able to play at Wimbledon, but for now I have to take care of my body and see how the recovery is going.”
In its first year, the tournament is not without any Wimbledon champions, with two-time winner Petra Kvitova as the top seed, and Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka in the field
Kvitova could meet former French Open semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in the quarter-finals, while former US Open champion Stephens opens against No 8 seed Laura Siegemund from Germany.
The tournament began on Sunday with Andrea Petkovic upsetting No 6 seed Sorana Cirstea, while Podoroska, the 5th seed, breezed into the second round with a 6-0 6-3 victory over wild-card Mara Guth from Germany, and both Amanda Anisimova and Katerina Siniakova also won.
Podoroska will play Patricia Maria Tig next after the Romanian defeated another German wild-card, Mona Barthel, 7-6(4) 6-3 in their opening-round match-up.
Home favourite Petkovic ousted Cirstea in the first round 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 22 minutes, making good on 4 of the 6 break points she created and rallying from a break down in the second set to pip the in-form Romanian.
Cirstea won her first singles title in nearly 13 years at Istanbul earlier this season, then reached the fourth round of Roland Garros.
“I was happy with my performance, I have to say,” Petkovic later said. “I served really well, I got broken only once – which is a surprise for me sometimes! I think I returned well when I needed to.
“It’s the same game, the same story on grass: who can play the first aggressive shot is always in the advantage, and I think I was able to do that a tad more often today.”
Petkovic broke Cirstea early for a 2-1 lead and eased through the rest of the first set from there, reaching triple set point with a forehand winner and converting the second after a wide forehand from the Romanian.
Cirstea was hit in the face with a ball after an errant bounce off the grass early in the second set, but after a medical time-out, the Romanian soldiered on, using some pristine groundstrokes to earn her first break of the match at 4-2 and pull the second set back on serve.
Petkovic had to then save a break point at 4-4, but once she did, the German moved ahead for good, forcing an error with a forehand to set up match point at 5-4 and Cirstea ceded the match with a double-fault.
In the second round, Petkovic will take on Anisimova after the 19-year old American defeated Danka Kovinic from Montenegro, 6-2 6-1, in an opening match that took just 50 minutes.
Siniakova also advanced after the Czech took out Russia’s Varvara Gracheva, 6-3 6-2, in her opener.
In the second round, Siniakova will play either Amandine Hesse from France or 3rd-seeded American Jessica Pegula.
Misaki Doi won her first-round match against Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina, with the Japanese coming through 6-2 6-2 in 58 minutes, and she could face either 7th seed Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain or Italy’s Martina Trevisan.
Tamara Korpatsch was another German to make a successful start in Bad Homburg on Sunday with a win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, 7-5 2-6 7-6(5).
In the second round, Korpatsch could either face fellow German Siegemund or Stephens.