Friday's quarterfinals of Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart delivered some good action including three interesting three-sets battles and emerged the strong line-up of semifinals, which will be played tomorrow.
The day started with an interesting clash between good friends - Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian was a pre-match favorite, but Badosa who shows signs of coming back to her good form, was surely not to write-off there. The Spaniard proved her ambitious to fight for great things again, starting the match against the current world's number two well. Badosa took the lead by gaining a break advantage in 3rd game and took care of it till the end of a set. Sabalenka could come back in 10th game, but Badosa managed to defend 3 breakpoints and served for the set. She took the wind in her sails, starting second set from another break, setting up a great position to win whole the match. The following turn of events proved again, that even being up a set and break over the opponent never makes the match over, as Sabalenka managed to turn over the clash where she was on the back foot almost from the start till 8th game of second set. The Belarusian broke back to level the score and added another break in 10th game, forcing the decider. This time, the momentum was on Sabalenka's side, as she extended her good series to 6 games won in a row, taking the 3-0 lead in deciding set. It was still a long way to go for the current Australian Open champion, as another plot twist came true, when Badosa came back to this set by winning 3 games in a row and leveling the score. The decisive games were a true rollercoaster, as all the last 3 games were ended up with breaks. Badosa lost her serve twice in a row after long games fought by Sabalenka, who crossed the finish line with a score 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Anastasia Potapova will be Sabalenka's opponent on Saturday. The Russian prevailed in another tight three-setter, eliminating Caroline Garcia with a score 4-6 6-3 6-3. This match had no clear pre-match favorite, as Potapova was rated with a slight lower odd even despite being 19 places down in the rankings. First set was a display of good performance from Garcia, who won it 6-4 without facing any single breakpoint within own serve. The French could go further, having 3 breakpoints on Potapova's serve in opening game of second set, but the Russian made an important hold there. Second phase of this match looked similarly to first set, as Garcia had an optical advantage, and produced another breakpoints in 5th game. Potapova still had a chances and hopes while being level on serve and waited patiently for her chance which appeared in 8th game. The world's number 24 broke her opponent and managed to serve for the decider one game later. Third set had some different scenario than both previous ones, as it was Potapova who put more pressure on her opponent, playing with a good confidence and being dangerous in almost all the service games of Garcia. She moved into the lead after gaining a break in 5th game and did not slip it away till the end.
Ons Jabeur continues her flawless clay court season by winning 7th match in a row. The Tunisian eliminated Beatriz Haddad Maia with a crushing score 6-3 6-0. The match was quite tight till the 6th game of first set, as both players were producing breakpoints and this tie was was not expected to be ended in such an one-sided way. Jabeur won the first set with just one single break, despite putting pressure during all service games of Haddad Maia. The world's number 4 raised up her level even higher in second set, being ruthless for the opponent and closing second set with a bagel after just 24 minutes of play.
Iga Swiatek sets up possibly the best clash of whole the week in Stuttgart, playing against Jabeur in Saturday's semifinal. The Pole needed to put some effort against Karolina Pliskova in today's quarterfinal. Swiatek has not played any three-sets match in 2023 so far, regardless of the final result. Today it happened for the first time this year for the world's number one, who lost the opening set against well playing Pliskova. The Czech made a storm start, building up a 4-0 lead. Swiatek made up one break from this gap but did not manage to come back into this set, as Pliskova clinched with a score 6-4. Second set started in reversed way, as it was Swiatek who the opening 4 games and forced a decider with a score 6-1. The Pole occured to be beter in third set as well, winning it 6-2 and advancing into the clash against Jabeur after 2:03 hours of play.