Tennis queen’s great debut
Stuttgart. She came, saw and was victorious: Maria Sharapova, the glamorous world star of women’s tennis, hopped around the Porsche Arena’s Centre Court like an excited teenager. Overjoyed, she blew kisses to the crowd after crowning her first appearance at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with a title. Playing the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, Sharapova dominated the match between the world’s two most successful tennis players. The world No. 1 didn’t get a sniff against the, on paper, No. 2. The audience in the full-to-capacity Porsche Arena were treated to some world class tennis during Sharapova’s 6-1, 6-4 win. It was thrill a minute tennis. Sharapova now leaves Stuttgart with 115,000 dollars prize money, a Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet and the promise to return to Stuttgart to defend her title.
The tennis queen from Russia kicked off as if a match against the current world No.1 is the simplest thing in the world. Impressive considering she had lost her four previous finals against Azarenka, two of which came this year at the Grand Slam tournament in Australia and in Indian Wells. But the Russian doesn’t rate statistics: “The most important thing is what you do on the court,” she said. And she moved Azarenka all around the Centre Court with powerful and accurate groundstrokes and hit aces at will when at the vital moments. 6-1 with three breaks after 30 minutes – it looked as if it was going to be a very short final.
That things took a little longer was down to the number one, who didn’t want to say farewell to the Porsche Arena after a great week without putting up a fight, even though she was slightly hampered by a wrist injury. “Yes it’s true about the injury but I’m not going to look for any ex-cuses,” she said. Victoria Azarenka fought back and even saved four break points at 2-all but shortly afterwards was forced to admit defeat. Sharapova broke Azarenka to lead 4-3 and soon afterwards closed out the match on her serve for a 6-1, 6-4 win in 84 minutes.
She was visibly overjoyed at winning on her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. For minutes on end she celebrated with the crowd, hugged her crew and eventually drove her new snow white Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet onto Centre Court with Matthias Müller, the President and CEO of the Porsche AG beside her. The key was given to her by Matthias Müller and the winner’s trophy was presented by Dr Wolfgang Porsche, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Porsche AG and the Porsche SE. The victor also had a presenta-tion to make. On behalf of her colleagues, she handed Dr Wolfgang Porsche the cup for the best and favourite tournament. The WTA players had once again voted the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as their favourite event in 2011.
“The week has been a lot of fun,” she said. “The crowd has been great to me and I was ex-tremely motivated to finally win a final against Victoria.” It was plain for all to see during the tournament week in Stuttgart.
Immediately before the match, the world renowned Stuttgart Ballet provided another tourna-ment highlight. The audience on Centre Court was enthralled by the four dancers belonging to the Stuttgart company performing the piece titled “Sit Back” which was specially choreo-graphed for the tournament by Louis Stiens.
Last year’s singles winner Julia Görges stood once again on Centre Court on finals day. To-gether with Anna-Lena Grönefeld, her Porsche Team Germany teammate, the world No. 21 was this time trying to win the doubles title. But the two Germans were however defeated 6-4, 7-5 by the Czech duo of Iveta Benesova/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.