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KERBER PULLS OFF SHARAPOVA SHOCKER

2015-4-24


STUTTGART, Germany - With her home crowd furiously cheering her on, Angelique Kerber pulled off the biggest surprise of the week at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Thursday night, battling back from a first set blowout to take out No.1 seed and three-time defending champion Maria Sharapova.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Stuttgart right here on wtatennis.com!

Not only had Sharapova won the 2012, 2013 and 2014 titles in Stuttgart, but those were her only career appearances at the Premier event - she was 13-0 here going into this match. And she came out firing again against Kerber, winning a routine first set and coming within points of victory up 6-2, 5-4.

But that's when Kerber, unseeded, came alive - she won three games in a row to sneak out the second set, 7-5, and, after the two players traded breaks in the first two games of the third set, the German cranked it up another notch, ripping winners left, right and center and running everything Sharapova had to throw at her down. She wrapped it up after two hours and 27 grueling minutes, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.

The match was of such high quality that both players finished with positive winners-to-unforced errors differentials - Sharapova was +4 (44 to 40) and Kerber was +2 (22 to 20). But while Kerber only got stronger and stronger as the match went on, Sharapova's errors began creeping higher and higher.

"We both played very well, high-level tennis," Kerber said. "It felt amazing out there. The crowd was so supportive of both of us. I was a little bit tired in the second set but when I heard the crowd I was fighting until the last point - it was amazing to feel the support from all the fans here at home.

"It's a special moment and a special tournament for me - to play at home and in front of all of my family and friends, it's a great feeling. It's my favorite tournament, and the best tournament for me."

At the end of the day Kerber got the win over the World No.2, which is actually the biggest win of her career - her previous-best win came against a No.3-ranked Sharapova at Paris [Indoors] in 2012.

Next up for Kerber will be No.6 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who earlier in the day beat another Russian, lucky loser Marina Melnikova, 6-2, 6-3. Kerber leads Makarova in their head-to-head series, 6-4.

That wasn't the only upset of the day - No.3 seed Petra Kvitova was also bounced, falling to Madison Brengle, 6-3, 7-6(2), the first Top 10 win of the American's career (read more about the match here).

Other winners were No.4 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Lucie Safarova, 7-6(5), 6-1, No.8 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who edged Belinda Bencic, 6-4, 7-6(1), Sara Errani, who beat Zarina Diyas, 6-4, 6-1, and WTA Rising Star Caroline Garcia, who beat German wildcard Carina Witthoeft, 7-6(4), 6-2.



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