Monday, July 29, 2019

Defending champ Buzarnescu loses early in San Jose

Unseeded Mihaela Buzarnescu, playing in the final of last year's inaugural Mubadala
Silicon Valley Classic, lost to wild card Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2 tonight in the first
round of the San Jose tournament. Photo by Mal Taam
   Defending champion Mihaela Buzarnescu's stay in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic singles draw lasted 64 minutes.
   Daria Kasatkina, a 22-year-old wild card from Russia, ousted the unseeded, error-prone Buzarnescu 6-2, 6-2 tonight in the first round at San Jose State.
   Buzarnescu, a 31-year-old left-hander from Romania, fell to 9-21 this year with no quarterfinal appearances in 19 tournaments. Ranked a career-high No. 20 last August, she will plunge 66 spots from No. 58 to No. 124 next Monday.
   Kasatkina has had her own woes, tumbling from a career-high No. 10 last October to No. 40. She is scheduled to face top-seeded Elina Svitolina, 24, on Wednesday. The top four seeds received first-round byes.
   Svitolina, ranked seventh, is coming off her best Grand Slam result, a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon.
   Seventh-seeded Maria Sakkari, who lost to Buzarnescu 6-1, 6-0 in last year's Mubadala final, beat Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-1, 6-4.
   Sakkari, 24, of Greece will play Japanese qualifier Mayo Hibi, the runner-up in the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Women's Challenge two weeks ago.
   The 23-year-old Hibi, ranked No. 265, edged Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos, ranked No. 126 in singles and No. 3 in doubles, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in 2 hours, 48 minutes. Babos had five aces and 12 double faults.
   Wild card CoCo Vandeweghe, playing in her first tournament match of the year after recovering from an ankle injury, defeated 21-year-old Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4.
   Vandeweghe, the runner-up in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012 and 2017, climbed to a career-high No. 10 in November 2017. She will play Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka, seeded second and ranked 10th, on Wednesday.
   Sabalenka is coached by Russian Dmitry Tursunov, a former top-20 player who trained in Northern California from age 12 into his 30s.
   Qualifier Kristie Ahn, a 27-year-old Stanford graduate, outlasted Ajla Tomljanovic, a 26-year-old Croatia-born Australian, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Tomljanovic reached the quarterfinals in San Jose last year and the final of the 2017 Sacramento Challenger.
   Ahn recorded her first main-draw victory ever in the tournament, which moved from Stanford last year, and on the WTA tour since she stunned top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, in the first round on clay in Bogota in April.
   The 178th-ranked Ahn, a Berkeley semifinalist, will face Belgium's Elise Mertens, seeded third and ranked No. 20, on Wednesday.
   Sixth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain dispatched Magda Linette of Poland 6-3, 6-3. Suarez Navarro, who won the doubles title in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic with compatriot Garbine Muguruza, will meet the winner of Tuesday's featured 7 p.m. match between U.S. wild cards Venus Williams, 39, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 34.
   In the opening round of doubles, Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan eliminated Mattek-Sands and China's Peng Shuai, both formerly ranked No. 1 in doubles, 6-2, 6-4.
   Here are the San Jose singles and doubles draws and Tuesday's schedule. Tennis Channel is televising the tournament.

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