Zhao, Ahn to play in main draw at Bank of the West

Stanford sophomore Carol Zhao won a qualifying match on Sunday afternoon, beating Russia's Marina Shamayko, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, to earn a spot in the main draw of the Bank of the West Classic at Taube Family Tennis Stadium, which gets underway Monday.

A wild-card entrant into the qualifying field, Zhao emerged as one of four qualifiers into the 32-player main-draw field. She won twice during last weekend's qualifying tournament in Lexington before losing to Jennifer Brady.

The Cardinal All-American will meet Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, ranked No. 65 in the world and winner of three WTA singles titles, in the first round. The match is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday's day session.

Zhao will be joined in the main draw by former All-American teammate and recent graduate Kristie Ahn, who was awarded a wild card into the main draw and will play Coco Vandeweghe, ranked No. 48 in the world and the 2012 Bank of the West Classic runner-up, in the second match of Monday's night session (approximately 8:30 p.m.).

Ahn earns $6,550 for her appearance. Zhao can only accept expenses.

Zhao, who competed in only two three-set matches, both wins, during her successful first season at Stanfrod, went the distance in both qualifying matches this weekend.

On Sunday, Zhao cruised 6-1 in the first set before Shamayko took the second frame by an identical score. Tied at 3-3 in the deciding third set, Zhao won back-to-back games for a 5-3 advantage and was able to hold on for the 6-4 victory.

Saturday, Zhao rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) triumph over Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova, the qualifying draw's No. 2 seed. In the final set, Zhao trailed 3-1 before winning four straight games and overcoming a 6-5 deficit.

Zhao, who earned All-America honors after advancing to the round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship, was named the ITA Northwest Region Player to Watch.

An All-Pac-12 Second Team pick, Zhao earned a final No. 22 national singles ranking after finishing 30-7 overall, 19-2 in duals, playing mainly at the No. 3 spot.

She was dominant all year, with 27 of her 30 wins coming in straight sets while winning 17 consecutive matches between Jan. 19-April 12.

An All-American in three of her four seasons on The Farm, Ahn concluded her career with a 97-17 overall record, 57-8 in duals.

Named the 2014 ITA National Senior Player of the Year, Ahn provided the clinching point in Stanford's 4-3 victory over Texas A&M to secure the 2013 NCAA championship.

Ahn, who never lost back-to-back matches during her college career and chalked up a 51-4 record at Taube Family Tennis Stadium, made a successful return to the court in 2013 after missing all but three matches in 2012 due to injury and having her freshman year cut short in the postseason.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics


Like this comment
Posted by Bill Yeager
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

It's fantastic to see these two incredible Stanford University athletes in the Bank of the West main draw. While Kristie Ahn is launching her professional career, since Carol Zhao is only a sophomore this coming year, this is even more amazing !!

Bravo !!!


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