MIAMI, March 19 (Reuters) - Andrea Petkovic has not had much reason to dance this season but the effervescent German flashed some of her moves after advancing to the second round of the Sony Open on Wednesday with a 6-3 6-4 win over Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.
Ranked in the top 10 at the end of 2011 with two titles on her resume and regarded as one of the WTA Tour’s rising stars, Petkovic had plenty of reason and occasions to kick up her heels.
Better known for her post-match dance ‘the Petko’ than her punishing forehand, Petkovic’s career was on an upward arc until 2012 when she was hit by a string of injuries that sent her ranking into a nose-dive.
A sore back was followed by ankle and knee injuries that left her sidelined for almost all the 2012 season leaving her 143rd in the world at the end of the year.
Back in Miami, with a new coach and fit, Petkovic is looking to climb another rung on the rankings ladder this next fortnight.
”It (Miami) is kind of a special tournament, I don’t know why,“ said Petkovic, who has clawed her way back to number 37. ”When I come here I just feel very comfortable, I like the courts. I just seem to play well here.
”Coming out on centre court was really nice, I have such great memories here, two or three great matches here on centre court in 2011 so that was kind of emotional. Somehow it is special.
“Let’s hope it keeps going.”
Miami’s party vibe appears to resonate with Petkovic who counts the tournament as one of her favourites and has a semi-final appearance in 2011 to back up her assessment.
After first-round exits at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and Doha, and failing to get through qualifying at Dubai, Petkovic was finally back on the winning track in Miami.
”I was struggling the last month after the Fed Cup, we had such a huge win there,“ said Petkovic, who will take on 22nd seeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the second round. ”After huge wins there is always kind of a letdown and I changed coaches so I needed time to adjust.
”I have had a few tough losses the past month and I saw Torro beat (Angelique) Kerber last week so I was very aware of her ability to play well and beat the top players so I was on my toes.
“With most of the match, very happy.” (Editing by Ian Ransom)