German qualifier stuns Halep in Stuttgart

Little-known Laura Siegemund of Germany was responsible for a big upset at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Thursday, knocking out fourth seed Simona Halep.

Not content with downing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in round one, the 28-year-old claimed an even bigger scalp in the second round as she downed Halep 6-1, 6-2.

The World no 71 broke twice on the way to claiming the first set and then broke again at the start of the second.

Halep managed to get back on level terms at 2-2 with a break of her own, but Siegemund continued to pile on the pressure and won four games on the trot to end the contest in quick time.

Halep was nursing an ankle injury and was clearly not at her best, hitting only three winners to Siegemund’s 28, but the result was still a massive shock.

“I think it’d be presumptuous to say [the match] was perfect, because there is always something to improve,” the German said. “But that was very good and of course I’m mega happy. I have not expected that it would go so smoothly.”

“I just played point by point. Sure, it’s definitely the biggest win of my career, but now after the match, I can only say, I have made few mistakes.

“I started very aggressively. That was the plan – attack her serve, tear open the field early. I know I’ve always done that well and it worked very well this time too.”

The remaining seeds in action on Thursday all avoided similar fates and are safely through to the quarter-finals.

Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska faced the dangerous Andrea Petkovic on her home soil, but recovered from a first-set blowout to record a 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Fifth seed Petra Kvitova had to battle back from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu 2-6 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, saving three match points in the second set before finally gaining the upper hand in the decider.

“I think I needed to spend more time on the court! I was really trying to play too perfectly and in the first set it wasn’t really paying off,” Kvitova said. “It was really quick the first set and I was just trying to calm down a little bit and play more consistently through the match.

“In the end it was paying off but it was really a hard fight in the second. And I don’t really remember when I last won a match from match points down. It’s maybe the first.”

After a lengthy two-and-three-quarter-hour battle, Kvitova moves on to face third seed Garbine Muguruza on Friday.

The final match of the evening saw Karolina Pliskova defeat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2.