Monday, July 30, 2018

Mamma mia: Azarenka tops Bondarenko in S.J. marathon

Victoria Azarenka defeated Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 tonight in
the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose. Both players
are mothers. Photo by Mal Taam
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   Victoria Azarenka won a marathon matchup of mothers.
   Azarenka, 28, of Belarus defeated Kateryna Bondarenko, 31, of Ukraine 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-5 in 2 hours, 40 minutes tonight in the first round of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
   Bondarenko, a former top-30 player who won the 2008 Australian Open doubles title with her sister Alona, saved three match points.
   Azarenka, a Belarus native who will turn 29 on Tuesday, gave birth to a son, Leo, in December 2016. Bondarenko, 31, of Ukraine had a daughter, Karin, in 2013.
   "It's a really challenging time for me and my game right now," Azarenka, ranked No. 108, said in an on-court interview. "You can see with my game, there's a lot of ups and downs. The important thing is I'm here, I'm fighting hard, and I try to do my best. That's all I can ask of myself, but it's not easy. Everyone expects to have results right awa -- I do, too! -- but I need to be patient and keep working hard."
   Azarenka, who won the 2010 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, will face top-seeded Garbine Muguruza, 24, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a matchup of two-time Grand Slam singles champions and former world No. 1s. The top four seeds received first-round byes.
   In a late match, wild card Ashley Kratzer outlasted fellow American Alison Riske 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 for her first WTA tour victory. Kratzer, a 19-year-old left-hander, reached the semifinals in Berkeley two weeks ago and the final in Stockton last July. Both were $60,000 tournaments.
   Another 19-year-old American, Sofia Kenin, beat qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 6-4, 6-4 during the day session. Kenin, who was born in Moscow and moved to the United States as a young child, reached the third round of the U.S. Open last year, losing to her idol, Maria Sharapova. Kenin also won Sacramento ($50,000) in 2016, Stockton in 2017 and Berkeley this month.
   Kenin will face either sixth seed and San Francisco resident Serena Williams or Johanna Konta of Great Britain. The former Bank of the West champions will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m.
   Also advancing today were Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., Maria Sakkari of Greece and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia. Collins won the NCAA singles title in 2014 and 2016 while playing at Virginia.
   Here are the Mubadala singles and doubles draws and Tuesday's schedule.
   ATP World Tour in Washington, D.C. -- Former world No. 1 Andy Murray converted his seventh match point to beat Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the Citi Open.
   The match lasted 2 hours, 36 minutes and ended at 12:45 a.m. EDT.
   Murray recorded only his second victory after missing almost one year because of hip surgery. McDonald reached the fourth round at Wimbledon this month.

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