Wednesday, July 17, 2019

25 years after debut in Oakland, Venus to play in S.J.

Venus Williams, shown last year in San Jose, plans to return this month at age 39.
Photo by Mal Taam
   In 1994, Venus Williams made her professional debut indoors in Oakland at 14 years old.
   A quarter of a century later, Williams plans to return to the Bay Area to compete in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
   Williams will play the featured evening match on Tuesday, July 30, at 7 p.m., officials announced Tuesday. The tournament is scheduled for July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State.
   The Bay Area practically has been a third home to Williams, who grew up in Compton in the Los Angeles region and lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She will make her 15th appearance in the tournament, which moved to Stanford in 1997 and San Jose last year. Williams reached the Stanford final eight times, winning in 2000 and 2002, and the San Jose quarterfinals in 2018.
   Williams won the last of her seven Grand Slam singles titles in 2008 at Wimbledon. She was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an incurable energy-sapping disease, in 2011.
   Williams becomes the third former world No. 1 to enter the Silicon Valley Classic, joining two-time Grand Slam champions Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza.
   The field also includes seventh-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, 17-year-old U.S. sensation Amanda Anisimova, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, defending champion Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and 2018 runner-up Maria Sakkari of Greece.
   Sabalenka is coached by Dmitry Tursunov, a former longtime Northern California resident from Russia.
   International Tennis Hall of Famers Andy Roddick and Michael Chang and former top-10 players James Blake and Mark Philippoussis will play a one-night tournament as part of the Invesco Series on Saturday, Aug. 3.

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