Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sharapova receives wild card for Bank of the West

Maria Sharapova, shown in 2014, returned from a 15-month
doping suspension in April. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Five-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova has received a wild card into the main draw of the Bank of the West Classic, tournament officials announced today.
   The Bank of the West, which begins the U.S. Open Series, is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center.
   The 30-year-old Sharapova has played in three tournaments, all on clay, since returning from a 15-month doping suspension in late April. She reached the semifinals in Stuttgart, then lost in the second round at Madrid and Rome.
   Sharapova was denied a wild card into the French Open, which ended last weekend, and was not ranked high enough to enter qualifying. Now ranked 175th, she withdrew from Wimbledon, July 3-16, with a thigh injury sustained in Rome.
   The Bank of the West will be Sharapova's first U.S. tournament since March 2015, when she lost to Daria Gavrilova of Australia in the second round in Miami.
   Sharapova, one of only six women to complete a career Grand Slam in singles, will play at Stanford for the fourth time. She reached the quarterfinals in 2009 and 2011 and the final in 2010, losing to Victoria Azarenka.
   Azarenka, who gave birth to her first child on Dec. 20, plans to return to the WTA tour next week in Mallorca and play at Stanford.
   Also entered in the Bank of the West are American Madison Keys, ranked 14th, and CiCi Bellis, ranked 40th at 18 years old. Bellis was born in San Francisco and grew up in Atherton, a five-minute drive from Stanford.
   The full acceptance list for the Bank of the West Classic will be released the week of June 19. To purchase tickets, visit www.bankofthewestclassic.com or call (866) 982-8497.

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