Saturday, July 28, 2018

Venus to play Thursday, Azarenka on Monday

Venus Williams, shown at the 2016 Bank of the West
Classic at Stanford, will play either Heather Watson
of Great Britain or Claire Liu, an 18-year-old Southern
Californian, on Thursday night in the Mubadala Silicon
Valley Classic at San Jose State. Photo by Paul Bauman
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   Former world No. 1s Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka are scheduled to play Thursday and Monday, respectively, in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State, tournament officials announced today.
   Both matches are set for 7 p.m.
   The third-seeded Williams, who won the last of her seven Grand Slam singles titles 10 years ago, will play either Heather Watson of Great Britain or Claire Liu, an 18-year-old wild card from Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles region. The top four seeds received first-round byes.
   Azarenka, the Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, will meet Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine. The winner will take on another former world No. 1, top-seeded Garbine Muguruza, on Wednesday at a time to be determined.
   Williams is ranked 14th at age 38. Azarenka, who will turn 29 on Tuesday, has tumbled to No. 110 after having her first child in December 2016 and playing part-time because of a custody battle.
Victoria Azarenka will meet Kateryna Bonda-
renko of Ukraine on Monday at 7 p.m. in San
Jose. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   In the opening round of qualifying today, Maria Sanchez scored the first top-50 singles win of her career. The 28-year-old Modesto product, ranked No. 258, upended Aryna Sabalenka, ranked No. 35 and seeded first, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.
   Sabalenka, 20, of Belarus reached the Eastbourne final on grass in June, ousting seventh-ranked Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals and losing to second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki.
   Sanchez will face No. 7 seed Georgina Garcia Perez, a 6-foot-1 (1.87-meter) Spaniard, on Sunday after a 10 a.m. match between No. 2 Anna Blinkova of Russia and Amanda Anisimova, a 16-year-old U.S. phenom seeded No. 8.
   Anisimova, playing her first match after missing four months with a broken foot, dismissed Priscilla Hon of Australia 6-1, 6-3. Anisimova won her first professional title in the $60,000 Sacramento Challenger last July and reached the fourth round at Indian Wells in March, beating Petra Kvitova for her first top-10 victory.
   Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) lost to fellow Southern Californian Danielle Lao, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters) and 120 pounds (54 kilograms), 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
   Here are the singles main draw, qualifying draw and Sunday's schedule. For more information, visit mubadalasvc.com.

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