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By Tennis Now | Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Staring down match points, Anett Kontaveit switched on survival skills.

Kontaveit denied two points toppling 2017 Stuttgart finalist Kristina Mladenovic in an epic 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) triumph to advance to the Stuttgart second round.

Watch: Klizan Upsets Djokovic In Barcelona

The three hour, nine minute marathon was the second longest match of the season so far.

"I wasn’t thinking about the score and I was just trying to fight," Kontaveit told the crowd afterward. "I thought we played great tennis and I’m really happy to be able to come back from such a difficult position. I’m really happy to be in the second round."

It was a gritty and critical triumph for Kontaveit, who snapped a four-match losing streak earning her first victory since defeating Samantha Stosur in her Dubai opener in February.

A year after Kontaveit conquered 2016 Roland Garros champion GarbiƱe Muguruza for her first career Top 10 win en route to the quarterfinals, she showed calm against former French Open doubles champion Mladenovic in the decisive tie break.

The 20th-ranked Mladenovic wristed a slick drop shot to open the tie break. Kontaveit answered with a run of five straight points.

Breaking open a crosscourt forehand rally, Kontaveit clubbed a crosscourt forehand for three match points.

On her third match point, Kontaveit cranked another forehand crosscourt closing a topsy turvy match with 52 winners compared to 29 for Mladenovic.

The 22-year-old Estonian will play two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber for a place in the Stuttgart quarterfinals.

In a clash of left-handers, Kerber carved up Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-2.



Three days after falling to Kvitova on the same Porsche Arena red clay court in the Fed Cup semifinals, Kerber completely turned the tables on the erratic Czech.

The two-time Stuttgart champion dragged the flat-hitting Kvitova into crosscourt rallies, coaxing some errors from the power player when she tried changing direction down the line. Kerber broke for 4-3 when Kvitova scattered a backhand down the line long, then backed up the break at 15.

In a near immaculate opening set, Kerber committed just three errors compared to 17 for her opponent snatching the 35-minute opening set.

The eighth-seeded Kvitova double faulted on break point as Kerber broke for 3-1, running off five of the final six games.

CoCo Vandeweghe concedes she doesn't like clay.

That didn't stop her commanding it today.

In a clash of U.S. Fed Cup teammates, CoCo Vandeweghe stomped Sloane Stephens, 6-1, 6-0.



The US Open champion broke at love to open the match, but Stephens was powerless to stop a ruthless Vandeweghe onslaught. Vandeweghe reeled off 12 consecutive games to complete a 56-minute thrashing.

"I really don't like clay, it's my least favorite surface," Vandeweghe said. "I'll never like it. This is my second time in Germany—I'm not here for the clay, it's more the shopping. I didn't come out here to play and lose."

US Open semifinalist Vandeweghe will play reigning Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund next.

The German wild card swept Barbora Strycova, 6-4, 6-3, yesterday.


 

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