After two somewhat low-key days of qualifying for the 2015 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the Porsche Arena was buzzing with activity on Monday, since all the big-name players arrived from Fed Cup duty and main-draw play got underway.
Activity inside the arena started in the morning, as Maria Sharapova practiced for the second time since arriving in Stuttgart. After completing her practice session, the three-time Tennis Grand Prix champ met with the media to discuss her chances to make it four in a row in Stuttgart this year.
While Sharapova was charming the tennis press, the last round of qualifying was in full swing and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Evgeniya Rodina, Petra Martic & Kateryna Bondarenko all booked their ticket for the event’s main draw.
Unfortunately, there was also some bad news in store as well. Andrea Petkovic & Svetlana Kuznetsova have withdrawn from the event due to injuries they sustained during their Fed Cup encounters, joining Eugenie Bouchard & Jelena Jankovic who are also no-shows in Stuttgart this year.
Monday also saw the debut of a very interesting doubles pairing. Simona Halep & WTA rising-star Belinda Bencic paired up for the first time, forcing a match tiebreak against Chin-Wie Chan & Chen Liang, ultimately losing their encounter despite plenty of crowd support.
After the doubles, it was showtime, as the traditional opening ceremony kicked off the tournament and the players entered the court one by one, all dolled-up in their night attire.
Once the glamorous part of the evening was done, two local players had the honors of starting the tournament’s main draw action, as German hopeful Carina Witthöft played fellow German Mona Barthel and continued her rise up the rankings with a solid straight-set win.
Action at the 2015 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix continues on Tuesday as first-round play will continue, including the first match of one of the crowd favorites – Ana Ivanovic. Keep checking back for all the latest from Stuttgart!