Defending Champion at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Maria Sharapova can be considered to be the
favorite to win the title in Germany for a third consecutive time. That said, her debut on Tuesday was far away from being an easy day at the office for the Russian.
Facing lefty Czech Lucie Safarova, Maria needed a total of 3 hours and 23 minutes to sail into the second round with the final score of 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 7-6(2). In the third set, Sharapova was up 5-1 before letting her opponent back into the match, having then to serve to stay in the match down 6-5 in the deciding set.
Safarova played an aggressive match of tennis, pushing the Russian to move around the court, forcing the shots with deep and powerful left-handed forehands, which put the World No.9 under pressure. In the end, Maria’s
better experience and feeling with the faster German clay allowed her with another victory, the 9th consecutive for her in Stuttgart, having won the title back to back in 2012 and 2013.