Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Top seed Svitolina sails into San Jose quarterfinals

Elina Svitolina, playing in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford,
won easily today in her first match since becoming the first Ukrainian
woman to reach the Wimbledon semifinals. Photo by Mal Taam 
   Top-seeded Elina Svitolina, coming off a historic achievement at Wimbledon, rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over wild card Daria Kasatkina of Russia today to reach the quarterfinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State.
   Svitolina, 24, became the first Ukrainian woman to reach the semifinals at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. It was her best performance in a Grand Slam tournament.
   "I think I played quite a solid match for my first match on hardcourts (since Wimbledon)," the seventh-ranked Svitolina, who received a first-round bye along with the other top four seeds, said in an on-court interview. "We're back on hardcourts, so I'm excited for all the matches here and overall this part of the season."
   Svitolina improved to 5-0 against the 22-year-old Kasatkina, who eliminated defending champion Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in a first-round clash of slumping players. Kasatkina has plunged from a career-high No. 10 last October to No. 40.
   Svitolina, a semifinalist in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in her only other San Francisco Bay Area appearance, is scheduled to face seventh-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece on Friday.
   Sakkari, last year's runner-up in San Jose, subdued qualifier Mayo Hibi, who plays for her native Japan but has lived in California since she was 2 years old, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in 2 hours, 35 minutes. Hibi advanced to the final of the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge two weeks ago.
   Svitolina defeated Sakkari 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-2 in the third round at Wimbledon this month in their only career meeting.
   Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus dismissed U.S. wild card CoCo Vandeweghe, the runner-up in the Bank of the West Classic in 2012 and 2017, 6-3, 6-3. Vandeweghe, 27, was playing in her first tournament this year after suffering an ankle injury.
   Sabalenka, ranked No. 10, is coached by former top-20 player Dmitry Tursunov, a Moscow native who moved to the Bay Area alone at 12 to train and was based in the Sacramento area for most of his professional career.
   Sabalenka will play sixth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Suarez Navarro, ranked No. 29, beat U.S. wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a matchup of players in their 30s. Mattek-Sands, 34, eliminated wild card Venus Williams, 39, in the first round.
   The 5-foot-11 (1.82-meter) Sabalenka, 21, is 2-0 against the 5-foot-4 (1.62-meter) Suarez Navarro, 30, including a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the New Haven final last August.
   Suarez Navarro won the doubles title in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic with compatriot Garbine Muguruza.
   Here is Thursday's schedule.

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