The quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will feature four Grand Slam champions, three of which have won Roland Garros (Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Li Na).
Top seed and defending champion Maria Sharapova played her first match on clay this season and it was a very tough victory for the Russian, as she needed three hours and nine minutes to get past Lucie Safarova with a 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3 score. Sharapova made eight double faults in the match and counterbalanced them with eight aces, while she converted just five of her 19 chances to break Safarova’s serve. In the quarterfinals, Sharapova’s opponent will be fellow Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic, who defeated Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-3.
The second-round clash of two unseeded players Jelena Jankovic and Sabine Lisicki was a highly entertaining and great-quality affair, with the home player advancing, but only after Jankovic saved an astonishing six set points in the first set and two match points in the second (actually, on the first match point Lisicki made her one and only double fault of the match). Throughout the encounter it was Lisicki who had the upper hand, but Jankovic was constantly hanging in there and causing the aggressive Lisicki much trouble, not allowing her to easily capitalize on her leads. At first, Lisicki broke Jankovic to lead 5-3 in the first set, but Jankovic broke right back and amazingly saved three set points to level to 5-5. When Lisicki was 6-5 40-0 up, Jankovic again showed her heart and excellent current form, but in the end she fell in the tiebreak. In the second set Lisicki was again constantly leading, but in the tenth game Jankovic leveled to 5-5, before eventually succumbing to the German’s pressure 7-6(3) 7-5. Despite the loss, Jankovic has every reason to celebrate her current tennis, her first-round win over Samantha Stosur and her extraordinary performance today against Lisicki. It’s almost midnight and the winner of the late encounter between Bethanie Mattek Sands and fourth seed Sara Errani will be Lisicki’s quarterfinal opponent.
Second seed Li Na swept past qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1 6-2 and will next play fellow Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova, who recovered from 2-6 0-1 to beat Julia Goerges 2-6 7-6(4) 6-2. Third seed Angelique Kerber defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0 6-4 and her quarterfinal rival will be Yaroslava Shvedova, who recorded a 7-5 6-4 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro, the winner over Caroline Wozniacki in the first round. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)