WTA Stuttgart Second Round Preview: Angelique Kerber - Annika Beck
Angelique Kerber will kick off her title defence in Stuttgart against compatriot Annika Beck, the pair due to meet for the second time in 2016. Photo credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

A German is ensured of a spot in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix when Annika Beck, who won her opening round match against Camila Giorgi, set up a clash with second seed Angelique Kerber, who received a first round bye, for a spot in the quarterfinals, in what looks to be tantalising match-up for the homecrowd.

Lead-up

Beck (left) and Kerber (right) embrace each other at the net after the end of their match at the Australian Open earlier this year. Photo credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images/
Beck (left) and Kerber (right) embrace each other at the net after the end of their match at the Australian Open earlier this year. Photo credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

Beck's season of 2016 has been highlighted by a run to the round of 16 at the Australian Open where she was stopped by eventual champion Kerber. She also two top 15 wins to her name thus far with both coming over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in Melbourne and while on Fed Cup duty in February.

Kerber is coming off a spectacular campaign in the Fed Cup World Group play-offs where Germany fended off Romania to maintain its World Group spot. In her rubbers, she beat both Irina-Camelia Begu and Simona Halep easily in straight sets with a combined loss of just nine games against both opponents. She will look to repeat what fellow German Anke Huber did in 1991 and 1994 and that is win Stuttgart twice.

Head-to-head

The Kerber-Beck head-to-head as displayed on WTA's website.
The Kerber-Beck head-to-head as displayed on WTA's website.

Kerber and Beck's solitary encounter was the aforementioned round of 16 match at the Australian Open earlier in January which Kerber won with the loss of just four games.

Analysis

Beck is a good mover around the court. Photo credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.
Beck will look to execute her good movement around the court. Photo credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

The 22-year-old Beck has the advantage of having played a match prior to this match-up. She was impressive in her win against Giorgi and will look to continue that form coming into this match-up. With the tournament played indoors and two indoor titles to her name, Beck looks to be doing well in these conditions as well.

Kerber has been impressive in 2016 so far with one title at the Australian Open, one runner-up finish at Brisbane and two semifinal showings in Miami and Charleston. As the defending champion, she will want to kick off the defence of her title on a high note. Moreover, she will want to make a good account of herself as the German number one and one of the heavy favourites for the title. Having reached the semifinals in Charleston (played on green clay) recently, the world number three Kerber will look to replicate a similar or better result here. 

Both players are good defenders and move comforably well around the court, therefore expect long rallies. Ultimately, Kerber, who has been impressive thus far in 2016, should breeze through this match comfortably and book her place in a second consecutive quarterfinal in Stuttgart.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber in straight sets

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