Clay court season continues as WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) has the Stuttgart Open (Porsche Grand Prix Tennis) in Germany and the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has the Barcelona Open in Spain. Both tournaments are finishing up their quarterfinal round and moving on to the semifinals. The injury bug has hit some top women’s tennis athletes, hindering them from continuing and sparking some uncertainty in future clay court tournaments. In other news, a world number one failed to pass through to the semifinal round, which was a shock, while the other continues to soar.
WTA Stuttgart Open
World number three Spaniard Garbine Muguruza was forced to retire in the Round of 16 match where she faced Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Thursday. Pavlyuchenkova took the first set 7-5, whereas Muguruza was forced to retire with a back injury.
Former world number one Angelique Kerber had to retire as well with a right quad injury. Kerber was battling against Anett Kontaveit but struggled after losing the first set and being down two games in the second. Kerber mentioned she had been feeling the pain even after she won against Petra Kvitova the day before. Now she begins to question whether Mutua Madrid Open is in her sights because the tournament begins May 5 as well as the next biggest WTA Grand Slam, Roland Garros.
“I was trying everything to go out there. I was thinking of playing for them because it was my home tournament, but in the end, it was too much,” Kerber said. “It’s hard on clay for me; it’s not my natural movement. Things were much worse for me today.”
To top off Stuttgart news, world No. 1 Simona Halep lost in straight sets in the quarterfinal round to CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-1. The victory helped Vandeweghe reach her first WTA Tour semi-final on clay.
ATP Barcelona Open
Rafael Nadal, world number one, continues to prove his nickname as the “King of Clay” as he defends his crown. He defeated Martin Kilzan reaching the semis still without dropping a set. So far, Nadal has 42 consecutive set wins on clay as well as a 17-match winning run on clay.
Although overcoming injury, Nadal is having a great start to his season similar to that of last year. On Saturday, he’ll face off with David Goffin for a shot in the championship. If Nadal continues to play his game on his favorite style of court, there’s nothing he can’t win especially when Roland Garros comes along.