In what was their fifth meeting on the WTA tour, Andrea Petkovic claimed a big scalp when she defeated the No. 1 seed and Top 10 player Julia Goerges in the first round of the tournament in Linz. This marked just the second time in nearly three years that Petkovic has beaten a player ranked in the Top 10.
At first it was really a match that was very one-sided. Goerges was essentially unleashing her aggressive brand of tennis on the match-up. She dictated points off the first serve and she found a high percentage of forehands, which allowed her to take control and make sure that the points ended quickly in order for her game to really flourish. The first set and a half was faultless and error-less tennis from the new Top 10 player, but it was from a 6-1 4-1 position in the scoreline where everything started to gradually lose control, and that gave Petkovic all the confidence and belief she needed.
Goerges had dropped just the single point on serve in the 1st set, but at the end of the 2nd set, that was where Petkovic took her chances more on the second serve and stepped up to the plate when Goerges’ level dropped. The match turned into more of a scrap, where rallies were elongated, points were a little bit more draining and the unforced error count really did go up and that sort of fight is something that Petkovic thrives upon much more than Goerges. The more aggressive Goerges would be close to hitting the panic button when the unforced error count starts to get away from her, while Petkovic sensed the vulnerability and took her chances and that made the telling difference here in Linz.
“How did I manage? I wasn’t playing that bad. Just I felt like in a war zone and I wanted to wear a helmet. It was unbelievable. She was playing unbelievable tennis. I’ve played Serena. I’ve played everyone, but I’ve never played anyone the way that Julia played in the first set and a half. It was just aces, return winners. So I tried to stay calm, and hope, and pray to god that she wasn’t going to maintain the level. The only thing I did try to do, which was difficult because she served so well, was get a little more depth on my shots to push her back because she was all over me. The only thing I was concerned with was to get her behind the baseline a bit better, serve into her body so she can’t swing as freely and those were the only two things that I tried to, sort of, manage. I started to read her serve a bit better. Not read, but my eyes got used to the speed and I think that made a huge difference.
“I know I’ve been playing for the past months. I came into the match and I expected myself to win. And then it is very difficult to be out there for 45 minutes and not have a chance. It was very difficult. That hurt my ego. I have to admit that. I was very hurt. (laughs). I just had to accept she was playing so well. The way that I won will give me a lot of confidence.”
Goerges was upbeat despite how the match really unravelled. She focused on how the first half of the match went rather than on how it got away from her. Believing that she really got a lot out of the match despite the loss.
“It can not always go as well as it was in the first twelve games. I could not put another of my aggressive game. She played better and I got less opportunities. It is not always about winning. It is about developing a few things. I know I’m capable of playing good things. To see that is happening is much more worth it than winning 6-1, 6-1. To see those first twelve games is a very good thing to take with me and take to the practice court.”
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