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Kvitova beats Brady during return to Stuttgart

Petra Kvitova, Brisbane International 2020

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays a shot during her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)


STUTTGART, Germany -- Petra Kvitova opened her delayed title defense at the Porsche Grand Prix with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady on Tuesday.

Kvitova, who won the previous edition of the tournament in 2019, saved all three break points she faced against Brady to book a second-round meeting with Maria Sakkari.

“It was a fantastic feeling playing on this court again,” Kvitova said. “It gave me lots of energy,”

The clay court tournament was called off in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka needed just over an hour to beat Zhang Shuai of China 6-2, 6-2 to set up a match against Anna-Lena Friedsam, who beat fellow qualifier Ulrikke Eikeri 6-2, 6-0.

Ekaterina Alexandrova rallied from a set down to beat Karolina Muchova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Anett Kontaveit eased past teenage wildcard entry Julia Middendorf 6-2, 6-3.

Kontaveit, who lost the 2019 final to Kvitova, next faces third-seeded Sofia Kenin.

Also, Laura Siegemund won an all-German duel against Mona Barthel 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.