Sports


Gibbs seeks title; Bank of the West Classic is set at Stanford

With any luck, Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs hopes she won't get the chance to qualify for the Bank of the West Classic women's tennis tournament, which begins Monday at the Taube Family Tennis Center at Stanford.

Gibbs is competing in the USTA Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington this week, with a possible wild-card entry into the US Open at stake. The semifinal round, slated for Saturday, conflicts with the Bank of the West qualifying tournament this weekend.

With one event remaining in the US Open Wild Card Challenge, Gibbs now leads in the standings with 88 points. She is followed by Julia Boserup (63 points), Oudin (48), Louisa Chirico (44) and Sanaz Marand (30).

Gibbs moved another step closer to playing in her third consecutive US Open main draw, capturing the USTA Player Development Women's $50,000 Classic with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 4-seeded Melanie Oudin on Sunday at the USTA Training Center West at StubHub Center in Carson.

She advanced into the quarterfinal round of the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington with a come-from-behind 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory over UCLA sophomore Jennifer Brady.

Gibbs, seeded seventh, faces top seeded Jarmila Gaidosova, 27, Friday afternoon.

Gaidosova, who turned pro in 2005, has won a pair of WTA titles in her career.

Gibbs currently ranks a career-best 142. Gaidosova has won 15 singles titles overall.

She's ranked 148th and has a career-high ranking of 25.

Against Brady, Gibbs struggled to deal with a hip injury through the first set.

She called a trainer and took an injury timeout before returning to face Brady in the second set.

"I made a mental decision not to hand the match to her and to make her win the match," Gibbs told the event's website. "At the end of the day, I'd rather stand still and not move rather than retire."

Brady, the Pac-12 singles champion, grabbed a 5-3 lead in the second set. Gibbs held serve and then broke Brady to even the score.

Both players held serve to force a tiebreak. Brady again appeared to be on the brink of victory before Gibbs battled to win it, 9-7.

"There were a couple of big-hustle plays in the second set," said Gibbs, "and my hip started to loosen up. Then the adrenaline kicked in the third set, and I wasn't really feeling it."

Stanford grad Kristie Ahn advanced in the doubles tournament, joining USC grad Kaitlyn Christian to beat Arizona State grad Jacqueline Cako and Tennessee grad Natalie Pluskota, 6-3, 2-6, 10-4.

Ahn and Christian meet the third-seeded Great Britain duo of Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith in Friday's semifinal.

The No. 2-seeded Gibbs, 21, is a two-time NCAA singles champion with the Cardinal and earned wild-card entry into the season's final Grand Slam the past two years by way of those collegiate titles.

Should Gibbs remain in Kentucky this weekend, the Bank of the West Classic still will have plenty of talent when it gets under way Monday with sessions at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Tennis fans will just have to settle for world No. 1 Serena Williams, her older sister Venus Williams, or any of the other top players in the world entered.

Petra Kvitova, the 2014 Wimbledon champ and world No. 4-ranked player, had to pull out Wednesday due to injury.

In all, nine of the top 20 players are in a field that rivals any before it. The Williams sisters, with four Bank of the West titles (two each) between them, are joined by defending champion and 12th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova, former champion and 10th-ranked Victoria Azarenka, 2012 Wimbledon finalist and fifth-ranked Agnieska Radwanska, No. 8 Angelique Kerber, No. 11 Ana Ivanovic, No. 16 Carla Suarez-Navarro, No. 18 Samantha Stosur and No. 20 Andrea Petkovic.

Also among the entrants are No. 28 Garbine Muguruza, No. 30 Shuai Zhang, No. 33 Sabine Lisicki, and No. 34 Daniela Hantuchova. Former world No. 1 Venus Williams is currently ranked No. 25.

Coco Vandeweghe has been granted a main draw entry to the tournament after Sara Errani announced her withdrawl due to illness. The 22-year-old American ranks 41st in the world and won her first WTA title this year at 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

Vandeweghe reached the Bank of the West Classic final in 2012 and the Round of 16 last year. This will mark the fourth appearance for the young star in Palo Alto. Her current ranking of World No. 41 is the highest ranking of her young and promising career.

Sessions are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with the quarterfinal rounds on Aug. 1 set for at noon and 8 p.m. The semifinal rounds (Saturday, Aug. 2) will be contested at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday's final (Aug. 3) is slated for 2 p.m.

Tickets are available online at www.BankOfTheWestClassic.com or by phone at 866-WTA-TIXS (866-982-8497).

Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, has entered to play in the Bank of the West Classic for the 12th time in her 20-year career. She made her professional debut at the event when it was located in Oakland.

The 34-year-old American owns 45 career WTA titles after winning at Dubai in February. She won titles at Stanford in 2000 and 2002.

Serena Williams, 17-time Grand Slam champion, won back-to-back titles here in 2011-12. Azarenka, a former world No. 1 player, won the title in 2010. She will open Wednesday night.

Ivanovic has won 14 WTA titles in her 11-year career, including a French Open championship in 2008, while Errani has captured seven titles. Suarez-Navarro claimed her first WTA title this year at Oeiras.

Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, returns to Stanford for the eighth time looking for her first-ever Bank of the West Classic title.

Petkovic, who reached the semifinal of the French Open, makes her debut at the Bank of the West Classic.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Katie Kuehner-Hebert
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 7:31 am

this is a weirdly written article, at least with the choice to write a headline about the BOTW's Classic "standout field." that is near the very bottom and most of the article is about Gibbs. Maybe a better headline is the best thing to do…:)


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