World no. 1 Angelique Kerber goes for a third straight Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title and Maria Sharapova returns from her doping ban as WTA Stuttgart 2017 is played from 24-30 April.
WTA Stuttgart 2017 tournament schedule
WTA Stuttgart 2017
|Date - Time||Event Name|| Location|
|26 Apr 2017 11:00||R1||Porsche Arena|
|27 Apr 2017 11:00||R2||Porsche Arena|
|28 Apr 2017 13:00||Quarterfinals||Porsche Arena|
|29 Apr 2017 15:00||Semifinals||Porsche Arena|
|30 Apr 2017 14:00||Final||Porsche Arena|
Who is playing WTA Stuttgart in 2017?
Homegrown star Angelique Kerber, the world no. 1, returns to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in 2017 looking for a third straight title in Stuttgart at the head of a strong field which includes seven other members of the top 10, as well as three-time champion Maria Sharapova.
One of the most popular events on the WTA Tour and the first big women's event of the clay-court season, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix always attracts a remarkably strong field with big-name players facing off from the very early rounds. German left-hander Kerber has never particularly thrived on clay, but in 2015 she ended the 13-match winning streak of three-time champion Sharapova in the second round before going on to win her second of four Premier titles that season in Stuttgart, and then returned in 2016 as a Grand Slam champion and successfully defended her title. Kerber has struggled during the early months of the 2017 season, with no title to her name as yet despite reclaiming the world no. 1 ranking after briefly relinquishing it to Serena Williams; where better for the tenacious German to find her best tennis again than Stuttgart?
And nothing better than Kerber's best tennis will see her win a third straight title - not with the field that's currently due to appear. World no. 3 Karolina Pliskova, who has already won titles in Brisbane and Doha in 2017, joins Kerber, as does WTA Finals Singapore champion Dominika Cibulkova and 2015 French Open runner-up Simona Halep, the Romanian who plays some of her best tennis on clay and who is looking for a return to form after an injury-imposed break earlier in the season.
Veterans Agnieszka Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the latter a former French Open champion, are also representing the top 10 in the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix field, as well as younger stars Madison Keys and the defending Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza.
Outside the top 10, Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina and St Petersburg champion Kristina Mladenovic are among the stars taking to the indoor clay courts of the Porsche Arena.
But the biggest news could be the player who doesn't even have a ranking - three-time champion Sharapova, who was granted a wildcard for the tournament despite the fact that her suspension for doping violations doesn't end until halfway through the week. Sharapova won't be allowed to set foot on the tournament grounds until Wednesday, the day she plays her first-round match and first match since the 2016 Australian Open, and the tournament's decision to offer her the wildcard has already drawn plenty of controversy. The former world no. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion ruled Stuttgart between 2012 and 2014 - how will she fare when she returns to professional tennis at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Wednesday 26 April?
WTA Stuttgart 2017 seeds
|1||2||Angelique Kerber||Champion (2015-16)|
|2||3||Karolina Pliskova||QF (2016)|
|4||5||Simona Halep||SF (2015)|
|5||6||Garbine Muguruza||QF (2016)|
|6||7||Johanna Konta||R1 (2014, 2016)|
|7||8||Agnieszka Radwanska||SF (2011-12, 2016)|
|8||9||Svetlana Kuznetsova||Champion (2009)|
: Third seed Dominika Cibulkova withdrew due to injury after the draw was made.
About the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
The oldest women’s indoor tennis event in the world, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has a rich history stretching back to 1978 with Martina Navratilova winning six singles and eight doubles titles between 1982 and 1992. Navratilova remains the all-time record holder in Stuttgart, but other luminaries including Gabriela Sabatini, Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova joined her on the tournament’s roll of honour in the event’s first lifetime as an autumn hard-court event.
It was in 2009, however, that the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix transformed itself into its current form, becoming a spring event played on indoor clay. The calendar and surface change revitalized the event, and the decision to use French clay with an 0.1mm grain size – the same used at Roland Garros – proved to be a shrewd one. Stuttgart now offers an unparalleled opportunity for players to warm up for the French Open on a similar surface, and its calendar position in early April – ahead of the major Premier events in Madrid and Rome – means that the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix now marks the beginning of the WTA Tour’s European clay-court season.
Now the first landmark in the run-up to Roland Garros, WTA Stuttgart has attracted star-studded fields since its transformation to a clay event in 2009 and features one of the most packed draws you will see throughout the WTA Tour calendar, with top-10 and top-20 players often colliding in the first round. Justine Henin was the first to win Stuttgart as a clay event in 2010 and Julia Goerges thrilled the home crowds with her run to the title in 2011, but in recent years the tournament has become the exclusive property of one Maria Sharapova.
The two-time French Open champion has played her best tennis of the past few seasons on clay and it has showed in Stuttgart, where at one point she owned an unbeaten 13-0 record and has collected a trio of titles, beating Victoria Azarenka (2012), Li Na (2013) and Ana Ivanovic (2014) in the finals. Sharapova’s 2014 title was particularly memorable as she was on the verge of dropping out of the top 10 and Lucie Safarova served for the match against her in the first round; after capturing the Stuttgart title, she went on to win the Mutua Madrid Open and her second French Open title at Roland Garros.
The 2015 edition of WTA Stuttgart saw Sharapova’s reign ended in the second round by Angelique Kerber, who defeated the defending champion 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 and went on to beat Ekaterina Makarova, Madison Brengle and Caroline Wozniacki in a gripping final. Triumphing 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 over Wozniacki to thrill the home crowds by capturing the trophy – already the second Premier-level title she had won in 2015 – Kerber went on to win in Birmingham and Stanford and ended the season back inside the top 10.
Kerber returned in 2016 as a Grand Slam champion and successfully defended a title for the first time in her career in Stuttgart, defeating compatriot Laura Siegemund, whose giant-killing run through qualifying and the main draw lit up the Porsche Arena. Kerber would go on to win the second Grand Slam title of her season at the US Open and rise to the world no. 1 ranking.
WTA Stuttgart tournament information
|Dates||24-30 April 2017|
|Surface||Red clay (indoors)|
|Draw size||28 singles/16 doubles|
|Most titles||Martina Navratilova (6)|
|Reigning singles champion||Angelique Kerber|
|Reigning doubles champions||Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic|
Previous WTA Stuttgart champions
|1978||Tracy Austin||Betty Stove|
|1979||Tracy Austin (2)||Martina Navratilova|
|1980||Tracy Austin (3)||Sherry Acker|
|1981||Tracy Austin (4)||Martina Navratilova|
|1982||Martina Navratilova||Tracy Austin|
|1983||Martina Navratilova (2)||Catherine Tranvier|
|1984||Catarina Lindqvist||Steffi Graf|
|1985||Pam Shriver||Catarina Lindqvist|
|1986||Martina Navratilova (3)||Hana Mandlikova|
|1987||Martina Navratilova (4)||Chris Evert|
|1988||Martina Navratilova (5)||Chris Evert|
|1989||Gabriela Sabatini||Mary Joe Fernandez|
|1990||Mary Joe Fernandez||Barbara Paulus|
|1991||Anke Huber||Martina Navratilova|
|1992||Martina Navratilova (6)||Gabriela Sabatini|
|1993||Mary Pierce||Natasha Zvereva|
|1994||Anke Huber (2)||Mary Pierce|
|1995||Iva Majoli||Gabriela Sabatini|
|1996||Martina Hingis||Anke Huber|
|1997||Martina Hingis (2)||Lisa Raymond|
|1998||Sandrine Testud||Lindsay Davenport|
|1999||Martina Hingis (3)||Mary Pierce|
|2000||Martina Hingis (4)||Kim Clijsters|
|2001||Lindsay Davenport||Justine Henin|
|2002||Kim Clijsters||Daniela Hantuchova|
|2003||Kim Clijsters (2)||Justine Henin|
|2004||Lindsay Davenport (2)||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2005||Lindsay Davenport (3)||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2006||Nadia Petrova||Tatiana Golovin|
|2007||Justine Henin||Tatiana Golovin|
|2008||Jelena Jankovic||Nadia Petrova|
|2009||Svetlana Kuznetsova||Dinara Safina|
|2010||Justine Henin (2)||Samantha Stosur|
|2011||Julia Goerges||Caroline Wozniacki|
|2012||Maria Sharapova||Victoria Azarenka|
|2013||Maria Sharapova (2)||Li Na|
|2014 ||Maria Sharapova (3)||Ana Ivanovic|
|2015||Angelique Kerber||Caroline Wozniacki|
|2016||Angelique Kerber||Laura Siegemund|
*active players are in bold