Petra Kvitova and Anett Kontaveit will contest the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title in Stuttgart in what is the first big clay court event on the women’s circuit, following a disappointing day for spectators with just one semi-final played after the withdrawal of the top seeded Naomi Osaka.
I think it will be a nice final, even today the atmosphere was very nice to play in front of this crowd. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow – there’s no German player so maybe they will support both sides Petra Kvitova
Osaka, the women’s world No. 1, pulled out after failing to recover from an abdominal injury she suffered in her quarter-final match with Donna Vekic thereby handing a walkover into the title match for her semi-final opponent, Kontaveit.
“I’m really sorry I’m not able to compete for the semis today,” Osaka said. “I unfortunately got injured yesterday and I was waiting till today to see if I could get better.
“But unfortunately, I didn’t… In the morning I had to roll out of bed and couldn’t do much. I didn’t try to practise, I can’t lift my upper body.
” I’m really sorry for everyone that came out and I hope to see you next year and I hope to play next year.”
She added she has had abdominal injuries in the past and remained upbeat that she would not be sidelined for too long in the run-up to the French Open which starts on May 26.
“I am happy it happened in the beginning (of the clay court season) and not in Rome (in mid-May) so close before the French Open,” she said, adding on her Stuttgart showing: “I am happy I won two matches. It is a really good boost for me.”
Meanwhile in the bottom half of the draw Kvitova overcame a second set relapse to defeat Kiki Bertens 7-6(3) 3-6 6-1 to reach her first final at the German event.
“I think I had a great two weeks of preparation on clay,” the third-seeded Kvitova said. “You know me, I always need matches to get used to the clay.
“From the beginning today, I was playing much, much better, so it’s about playing and playing on the clay. You can’t really do that if you lose in the first match.
“The key for playing well today was winning yesterday,” Kvitova said referring to her three-set victory over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, “I think we both played a really good match today.”
The Czech star will be bidding to improve on her 26 titles she has won to date. Should she be successful she will become the first player this season to have won twice on the circuit.
For the 23-year-old Estonian, victory would be her second WTA title from five final appearances and the biggest of her career.
“We played last year twice on the clay – in Madrid and in French Open,” Kvitova said on looking ahead to the final. “I lost in French Open, and won in Madrid. We practiced here before the tournament started, it was a fun practice.
“Anett definitely has improved. She knows how to play, especially on the key points – I think that’s what she improved, the mentality. I just need to be there and be ready for anything.
“I think it will be a nice final, even today the atmosphere was very nice to play in front of this crowd. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow – there’s no German player so maybe they will support both sides.”