Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Past Bank of the West champs gain Wimbledon semis

Serena Williams displays her trophy after winning the singles title in the Bank
of the West Classic at Stanford for the third time in 2014. Tri Nguyen/
   Over the years, the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford has attracted almost all of the top players in women's tennis.
   For the latest example, consider the Wimbledon singles semifinals, which were set today. Three of the remaining players have won the Bank of the West Classic, and only an upset prevented a sweep.
   Serena Williams has won the Bank of the West three times (2011, 2012 and 2014), Venus Williams twice (2000 and 2002) and Angelique Kerber once (2015).
   Dominika Cibulkova, the No. 19 seed at Wimbledon and 2013 Bank of the West champion, lost to unseeded Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-2.
   Cibulkova was coming off a marathon victory over third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up to Serena Williams, in the fourth round on Monday.
   In Thursday's semis, beginning at 5 a.m. PDT (ESPN), top-ranked Serena Williams will play Vesnina, and No. 4 seed Kerber will meet No. 8 Venus Williams. Of the four, only Venus Williams is entered in this year's Bank of the West Classic, July 18-24 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   Meanwhile, six other players with strong Northern California ties will play in  Wimbledon quarterfinals in various events on Wednesday.
Venus Williams won the Bank of the West Classic
in 2000 and 2002. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   In men's singles, No. 28 seed Sam Querrey will take on No. 6 Milos Raonic on No. 1 Court at 5 a.m. (ESPN2), and No. 2 Andy Murray will go against No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Centre Court after No. 3 Roger Federer meets No. 9 Marin Cilic at 5 a.m. (ESPN).
   Querrey, a 28-year-old San Francisco native, ended top-ranked Novak Djokovic's Grand Slam winning streak at 30 matches in the third round.
   Raonic, a 25-year-old Canadian, never lost a set in 13 career matches in the SAP Open in San Jose, winning the last three titles (2011-13) before the tournament was discontinued. It had been held in various locations in Northern California for 135 years.
   Murray, 29, of Great Britain won the first of his 37 tour-level singles titles (fourth among active players) in the 2006 SAP Open at 18 and repeated in 2007. He also won the 2005 Aptos Challenger at 18.
   Former Stanford stars Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, seeded No. 2, topped No. 14 Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 7-5, 6-7 (10), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
   The Bryans, 38, have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles -- including Wimbledon in 2006, 2011 and 2013 -- but none since the 2014 U.S. Open.
   No. 10 seeds Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones) of San Jose and Abigail Spears of Colorado Springs, Colo., dismissed Daria Gavrilova of Australia and Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 6-3. Atawo, 33, was born in Fresno and starred at Cal.
   Three other players with Northern California connections lost today.
   Possibly setting a record for the latest men's or women's first-round match in a Grand Slam tournament, Jiri Vesely and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic beat Dmitry Tursunov, a 33-year-old Russian based in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, and Andrea Petkovic of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in mixed doubles.
   No. 14 seed Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine eliminated Michaela Gordon of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of girls singles.
   Also, Youssef Hossam of Egypt and Egi Kirkin of Turkey defeated Nicola Kuhn of Spain and Sam Riffice of Roseville in the Sacramento area 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

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