Petra Kvitova up and running in Stuttgart as she sets up clash against ‘tough opponent’ Maria Sakkari

Petra Kvitova on the run

Petra Kvitova kicked off the defence of her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title with a straightforward win over Jennifer Brady and her reward is a second-round encounter against Maria Sakkari.

The two-time Grand Slam winner required one hour and 32 minutes to see off the 2021 Australian Open finalist and world No 14 in the opening round in Stuttgart, winning 6-4, 6-3.

The seventh seed broke in game 10 of the opening set and in game four of the second.

“It was great match and a tough opponent for the first round, for sure,” Kvitova said. “At the beginning, it was pretty tight and I think the games which I was serving were really tough, and I think a few times I [was] lucky as well, to be honest.

“I took the chance to break her to win the first set, and that was probably the key that I really went for it more than I was before.”

She will face world No 19 Sakkari for a place in the quarter-final after the Greek beat German wildcard Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-2.

“She’s definitely a tough opponent, especially on the clay I would say. She really likes it. We played in Rome on clay as well. We played three times already before,” Kvitova said.

“She has a great serve for clay as well, a little bit of top spin and she can slice it, she can play drop shots. She can play everything. It will be a very nice and challenging time… but I’m really looking forward for it.”

Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka also advanced as the Belarusian eased past Zhang Shuai from China with a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Up next is German Anna-Lena Friedsam, who beat Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri 6-2, 6-0.

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