Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sharapova, like Azarenka, withdraws from Stanford

Maria Sharapova, shown on Monday night, withdrew from her second-round
match in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford today with soreness in her
left arm. Photo by Mal Taam
   STANFORD, Calif. -- First Victoria Azarenka, now Maria Sharapova.
   Midway through the second round of the Bank of the West Classic, withdrawals have cost the tournament two of its four marquee players.
   Sharapova pulled out with soreness in her left arm, officials announced shortly before noon PDT today. She was to have played seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine not before 2:30 p.m.
   "Unfortunately, I have to withdraw from today's match," Sharapova, a 30-year-old right-hander with a two-handed backhand, said in a statement. "Toward the end of Monday night's match, I felt pain in my left forearm. After yesterday's scan, the doctor has recommended I don't risk further injury. Monday night's crowd was so special, and I wish I could continue playing, but I have to make a preventative decision."
    Sharapova, a wild card ranked No. 171, returned from a 15-month doping suspension in April. In the third tournament of her comeback, she retired from her second-round match in the Italian Open in May with a thigh injury. Stanford was Sharapova's first tournament since then.    
   Tsurenko, playing in the Bank of the West for the first time this year, will meet third-seeded Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla., in Friday's quarterfinals.
   Keys, who underwent left wrist surgery last fall and returned to the circuit in March, defeated qualifier Caroline Dolehide 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Dolehide, who's scheduled to play in a doubles quarterfinal with fellow U.S. teenager Kayla Day on Friday, is competing in her first WTA tournament.
   Azarenka, who won the 2010 Bank of the West Classic (beating Sharapova in the final), withdrew from this year's tournament on Friday with a viral illness. She gave birth to her first child in December and came back to the tour in June.
   Both Sharapova and Azarenka have reached No. 1 in the world. Sharapova has won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open once each and the French Open twice. Azarenka owns two Australian Open titles.
Top-seeded Garbine Muguruza, playing her first match since winning Wim-
bledon last month, crushed 17-year-old Kayla Day 6-2, 6-0 in the second
round of the Bank of the West Classic. Photo by Mal Taam
   In tonight's featured match, top-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain crushed Day, a 17-year-old left-hander from Santa Barbara, Calif., 6-2, 6-0 in 58 minutes. Muguruza hammered her serve, pounded her groundstrokes into the corners and kept Day on her heels with deep returns of serve.
   It was Muguruza's first match since she won Wimbledon last month for her second Grand Slam singles title. The top four seeds received first-round byes.
   "I'm happy because it's never easy -- I remember that from last year -- to go back to a tournament pretty soon (after winning a Slam)," said Muguruza, who won the 2016 French Open. "To forget about what just happened, just concentrate on a new tournament, that match, and start fresh, so I'm happy it went my way because it's easy to make a mess of it."
   Muguruza, who won the doubles title at Stanford in 2014 with compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro, beat Day 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the third round at Indian Wells in March in their only previous meeting.
   "In that match, I started a little bit bad," Muguruza recalled. "My game was not there, and I missed a lot of shots. I really wanted to start well here, especially trying to return her serve. She has a big serve, and she's lefty, and I was working on that. That made a huge difference to start well in the match and not almost losing in the second set and trying to survive."
   Muguruza will play fifth-seeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia for the first time in the quarterfinals. Konjuh, ranked 20th at 19 years old, topped Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia 7-5, 6-4.
   Second-seeded Petra Kvitova, who accepted a late wild card, is scheduled to make her Bank of the West debut against Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine in the second round on Thursday not before 1 p.m.
   Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon singles champion, suffered career-threatening injuries to her left (playing) hand when she was attacked with a knife during a home invasion in Prostejov, Czech Republic, in December. She returned to the tour in May.
   In a doubles quarterfinal today, third-seeded Abigail Spears of Colorado Springs, Colo., and CoCo Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., in the San Diego area edged former Stanford teammates Kristie Ahn of Orlando, Fla., and Nicole Gibbs of Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area 6-7 (7), 6-4 (10-6].
   Vandeweghe, the singles runner-up to Serena Williams as a lucky loser at Stanford in 2012, was treated for a nosebleed after the second set.
   Here are the Bank of the West singles and doubles draws and Thursday's schedule.

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