Monday, June 11, 2018

Azarenka enters Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka is sched-
uled to play in the San Francisco Bay Area for
the first time in four years. 2014 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Maybe it should be called the Comeback Classic.
   Victoria Azarenka plans to join Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic this summer at San Jose State, tournament officials announced today.
   All three players have been ranked No. 1 in the world. But for various off-court reasons, Azarenka has fallen to No. 86, Williams to No. 183 and Sharapova to No. 23.
   Because of pregnancy, the birth of her first child and a subsequent custody battle, Azarenka played in only two tournaments from June 2016 through February this year. She reached the semifinals of the Miami Open in April, losing to eventual champion Sloane Stephens, but lost in the first round of the French Open to eventual doubles champion Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
   Williams, who had her first child last
Sept. 1, has played in only three tournaments this year. She withdrew from her fourth-round match against Sharapova in the French Open with a chest muscle injury, but her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said she should be ready for Wimbledon (July 2-15).
   Sharapova returned from a 15-month doping suspension in April last year. She had a strong clay-court season, advancing to the quarterfinals in Madrid, the semifinals in Rome and the quarterfinals of the French Open.
   Also entered in the Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5, are Madison Keys and CoCo Vandeweghe, the champion and runner-up, respectively, in last year's Bank of the West Classic. The tournament is moving to San Jose with a new sponsor after 21 years at Stanford. The full field will be announced on June 19.
   Azarenka, 28, of Belarus will make her fifth appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area and first since 2014. She withdrew from last year's Bank of the West Classic with a viral illness. In addition to beating Sharapova for the 2010 singles title at Stanford, Azarenka won the 2011 doubles crown with Maria Kirilenko of Russia.
   Azarenka has won 20 career singles titles, including the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. She spent 51 weeks at No. 1 in 2012 and 2013 sandwiched around Sharapova's fifth stint at the top, a four-week stay.
   To purchase tickets to the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, visit MubadalaSVC.com or call (866) 982-8497.

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