For a few days this week, Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs was back in her element. Gracing the same court where she found so much success, Gibbs basked in the warmth of friendly faces and a supportive crowd at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
"Two years out of school and there's still a lot of people coming out to support me," Gibbs said. "It was moving for me. It's disappointing to tale a loss anywhere, and especially when you let down the a crowd like that. I wish I could take them everywhere."
Eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina avoided 'upset fever' at the expense Gibbs at the Bank of the West Classic on Wednesday night. Gibbs gave it a good shot, rallying to force a second set tie-breaker before falling, 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Gibbs doesn't have much time to ponder things. She's taking one day and then heading for Toronto and the qualifying tournament there. She also received a wild card into the qualifying at Cincinnati and hopes to gain a wild card into the main draw of the US Open.
"I had moments throughout the week when I was playing good tennis," Gibbs said. "I have a lot of takeaways that can hopefully be the start of a good hardcourt season for me."
Gibbs said she's a little behind where she wants to be because of "several levels of awful earlier in the year."
Gibbs said she "recommitted to some things that are important," and looks forward to building on her trip to Stanford, which included visits to favorite hangouts and dinner with friends, among them former teammates Hilary Barte and Caroline McVeigh.
Three other seeded players fell, including third-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, ranked 10th in the world. American Alison Riske, ranked 59th, beat the Spaniard, 6-4, 6-4.
Riske, who changed her schedule this season to include the Bank of the West Classic, beat a top-10 player for the first time in nearly two years and the second overall in 12 tries.
"I've had a lot of good matches against top players that have helped my confidence," Riske said. "I wasn't winning but I was playing good tennis."
No. 69 Ajla Tomljanovic beat the seventh-seeded Madison Keys 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 and Germany's Mona Barthel beat sixth-seeded compatriot Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
The fever also affected doubles play, where Barthel and Sabine Lisicki downed the fourth-seeded duo of Raquel Kops-Jones, a Cal grad, and Maria Sanchez, a USC grad, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
In another doubles match, Chin-Wei Chan and Darija Jurak beat Vitalia Diatchenko and Anna Tatishvili, 6-4, 7-5.
"That was tough. I thought I'd be off that court in 35 minutes," Tomljanovic said. "She played so well in the first set, I felt like I wasn't even in it."
Tomljanovic refocused on holding serve and eventually got herself back into it.
"I'm already considering this a great week," Tomljanovic said. "When you go through bad stretches, you learn to appreciate wins even more."
Barthel, who has lost her first round match in 12 of 17 tournaments played this year, could next play top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who makes her first appearance Thursday night.
Keys, who served nine aces, was playing her first event since reaching the quarterfinal at Wimbledon.