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WTA Stuttgart 2019 Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Naomi Osaka headlines strong Stuttgart field

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 22 Apr 2019
  • Naomi Osaka leads the field at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, live from Stuttgart from 22-28 April
  • The Stuttgart draw includes every member of the top five, and six of the top-ten

World No. 1, Naomi Osaka leads a strong field at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, featuring the top five players in the world. The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is live from Stuttgart from 22-28 April.

Can Osaka claim her maiden clay-court title? Or will defending champion, Karolina Pliskova retain her crown? Stuttgart presents another opportunity for Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber to claim their first titles of the season.

It’s a typically open draw in Stuttgart, and we have made out picks for the latter stages.

First Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Naomi Osaka (1) vs Angelique Kerber (5) [Kerber leads 4-1 on head-to-head]

Naomi Osaka faces a very tough draw in Stuttgart, as she attempts to win her first title since the Australian Open, and her first ever title on clay. The Japanese star has gone off the boil since her stunning Melbourne success, failing to reach the quarter finals in the three tournaments she has played after the Australian Open (Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami).

Osaka is playing the Stuttgart main draw for just the second time, with her only previous appearance being in 2017, when she was beaten by Johanna Konta in the opening round. Her overall record on clay is very ordinary- she was 5-4 last season, and 2-5 in 2017. She has obviously made significant progress over the last year, especially on hard courts- can she extend that progress to the red clay?

The top seed has a first round bye in Stuttgart, and opens against Qiang Wang or the crafty Su-Wei Hsieh. Either player will cause Osaka serious problems on this surface, as Wang is a very steady operator, and Hseih's awkwardness is well-documented. Should Osaka get through that, she is projected to meet Angelique Kerber in the quarter finals, but Kerber’s potential path to the last eight isn't straightforward either.

Kerber is a two-time champion in Stuttgart, winning the title in 2015 and 2016. The German, who is still searching for her first title since Wimbledon, starts her Stuttgart bid against Donna Vekic in the first round, and could play either Elise Mertens or Daria Kasatkina in the second round.

It's been tough going for Kasatkina this season, as she's won just three matches all year, and is in danger of crashing to a fifth opening round defeat of the season when she takes on Mertens. 

Mertens took out Kerber en route the Doha title, and is also a very capable player on clay, having won two titles on the surface last season. I reckon it will be a Kerber-Mertens second round meeting, presenting the German with the opportunity to avenge that Doha defeat. 

Predicted Quarter: Su-Wei Hsieh vs Angelique Kerber
Semi-finalist: Kerber


Second Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Karolina Pliskova (4) vs Anett Kontaveit (8) [Pliskova leads 2-0 on head-to-head]

Defending champion, Karolina Pliskova heads into Stuttgart on the back of an excellent hard-court season, which yielded a title in Brisbane, a final in Miami, a semi-final at the Australian and a couple of quarter finals in Dubai and Indian Wells. Pliskova has had some very good results on clay in the last couple of seasons, reaching the French Open semi-finals in 2017 and the Madrid semis last season to go with her Stuttgart title. She may not be the most natural mover on the surface, but she has adapted well in the last couple of years, and her power game makes her an ever-present threat.

If the Czech is to maintain her record of reaching at least the quarter finals in every tournament she's played this season, she will have to take down a two-time Grand Slam champion in her Stuttgart opener.

Pliskova gets a bye into the second round, where she will play either Garbine Muguruza or Victoria Azarenka, who will go head-to-head in a blockbuster first round tie- a repeat of the Monterrey final which Muguruza won via retirement.

Pliskova is 8-2 against Muguruza and 3-3 against Azarenka, and given how well she has played this season, and how well she played in Stuttgart last year, she is a very good bet to move past either player, and reach the last eight.

Headlining the other side of this quarter is 2018 semi-finalist, Anett Kontaveit, who finds herself in a very open section of the draw. Kontaveit opens against Caroline Garcia, and could face either Julia Goerges or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. 

All four players will like their chances of getting through to the quarters- 2011 champion, Goerges started the season well but has faded in the last couple of months, Pavlyuchenkova is always dangerous but inconsistent, Garcia is having a poor season, and Kontaveit, well, she made the semis last year, and is coming off a semi-final in Miami.

Predicted Quarter Final: Karolina Pliskova vs Anett Kontaveit
Semi-finalist: Karolina Pliskova


Third Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Petra Kvitova (3) vs Anastasija Sevastova (7) [Sevastova leads 2-1 on head-to-head]

Petra Kvitova has not got the most challenging draw in Stuttgart; where she opens against either Dominika Cibulkova or a qualifier following a first-round bye. 

Kvitova played well on clay last season, winning titles in Prague and Madrid, and she will be looking to keep up that form in Stuttgart, where she was a semi-finalist in 2016. She had a good hard court season, winning the Sydney title and making finals at the Australian Open and Dubai. Can she take that form onto the clay?

The left-hander is projected to meet Anastasia Sevastova in the quarter finals, if she gets through her opening match. Sevastova opens against 2017 Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko in an all-Latvian affair, while she could face either Laura Siegemund or Lesia Tsurenko in the second round.

Siegemund has a fine record in Stuttgart, winning the title in 2017 after a runner-up finish in 2016, and while she has been held back by injuries since that 2017 success, her recent performances at this venue cannot be overlooked. Besides, Sevastova has not been in the best of forms this season, as she has won just two matches in her last five tournaments, while Ostapenko has won just five WTA matches all season. The German is definitely in with a shout.

Predicted Quarter Final: Petra Kvitova vs Laura Siegemund
Semi-Finalist: Petra Kvitova


Fourth Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Simona Halep (2) vs Kiki Bertens (6) [Halep leads 3-2 on head-to-head]

Simona Halep continues her hunt for a first title since last August in Stuttgart, where she has been handed a very kind early draw. The former world No. 1 has a first-round bye, and begins her campaign against either Andrea Petkovic or a qualifier. 

The Romanian shouldn't have much trouble en route the quarter finals, where she will most likely meet Kiki Bertens or Belinda Bencic. Both Bertens and Bencic open against qualifiers, and could face off in the second round. As well as Bencic has played this season, particularly during that outstanding Dubai-Indian Wells run, she will probably fall short against Bertens, who is a formidable force on clay.

Predicted Quarter Final: Simona Halep vs Kiki Bertens 
Semi-Finalist: Simona Halep


Semi-Finals 
Angelique Kerber vs Karolina Pliskova 
Petra Kvitova vs Simona Halep

Final
Karolina Pliskova vs Simona Halep

Winner
Simona Halep


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WTA Stuttgart 2019 Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Naomi Osaka headlines strong Stuttgart field

Naomi Osaka leads a strong field at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, live from Stuttgart from 22-28 April. Read our draw preview, predictions and stream the matches live online.

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