Siegemund sets up Barty clash in Stuttgart

Stuttgart (Germany) (AFP) –


Former Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund will face world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the second round of the clay-court WTA tournament after seeing off qualifier Mona Barthel on Tuesday.

Siegemund, 33, who won the Stuttgart tournament in 2017 and reached the 2016 final, needed just over two hours to seal a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 first-round win over Barthel, who fired down four aces without reply.

Barty will make her debut in Stuttgart in the second round against the 33-year-old Siegemund, ranked 58th in the world, having won the only previous meeting between the pair in Doha on hard court last year.

"I am looking forward to it, but it won't be an easy task for sure," said Siegemund of facing top-seed Barty.

"It wasn't an easy first match for me. I hadn't played for a few weeks, while she came through qualifying, so there is room for improvement," Siegemund added having made 30 unforced errors.

Stuttgart is the second clay-court tournament this season for Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, who lost to Spain's Paula Badosain in the quarter-finals of the Charleston tournament at the start of April.

Former double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic won her first round match with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady of the USA.

Kvitova, the seventh seed in Stuttgart and the 2019 champion, will face Maria Sakkari of Greece in the second round.

"I was surprised to have to face her so early," said Kvitova, with Brady ranked 14th in the world, just four places below her.

"It could just as easily have been a Grand Slam quarter-final or something like that.

"I struggled with my serves at the start, but it was great to be back on the court and I feel well here. I'm looking forward to playing Maria."

Earlier, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia set up a second-round tie with third-seed Sofia Kenin of the USA after a 6-2, 6-3 win over German qualifier Julia Middendorf.

Later fifth-seed Aryna Sabalenka of Bulgaria powered her way past China's Zhang Shuai, needing just over an hour to seal a 6-2, 6-2 first-round win.

The 22-year-old Sabalenka will next face German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam.