The top ladies on the WTA Tour have gathered in Stuttgart for the $710.000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as the build-up to the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros moves into second gear.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova, aiming for a third consecutive title in Stuttgart, got down to business on Tuesday, however, didn't have things her own way in a three-hour marathon win over Lucie Safarova.
The former world number one and career Grand Slam winner had to call on all of her experience in a 7/6, 6/7, 7/6 victory over Czech world number 28 Safarova for her 100th win on clay.
Another former Stuttgart winner and former world number one, Jelena Jankovic, was also staring down the barrel in her opening clash against Mona Barthel after losing the first set 6/2, however, the 2008 champion rallied to a 2/6, 7/6, 6/3 win over her German opponent.
First round action concluded yesterday as Ana Ivanovic brushed aside Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6/1, 6/3, 2012 winner Julia Goerges needed just two sets to get past Sorana Cirstea while Indian Wells titlist Flavia Pennetta accounted for a resilient Andrea Petkovic, 7/5, 3/6, 6/1.
Eighth-seed Sara Errani became the first player to advance through to round 3 following her straight sets win over Kaia Kanepi. The 2012 French Open runner-up brushed aside Kanepi 6/3, 6/3.
Alisa Kleybanova joined the Italian in round 3 after a stunning upset over former Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova. The Russian, a former top 10 player, dented Kvitova's French Open preparations with a 6/2, 7/6 win.
Second round action concludes today as top seed Agnieszka Radwanska begins her campaign against the dangerous Roberta Vinci. Radwanska has a 5-1 lifetime record against her opponent.
The winner will take on either defending champion Maria Sharapova or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who also clash today.
Simona Halep gets down to action today against Svetlana Kuznetsova, a win will see her take on the winner of Ana Ivanovic and 2011 winner Julia Goerges.
Sara Errani awaits the winner of Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarrez Navarro while Alisa Kleybanova's reward for her victory over Kvitova will be a clash with either former winner Jelena Jankovic or Flavia Pennetta.
The winner takes home a cool £135.000 and a Porsche 911 Carrera for their efforts.
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