STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com) – Stanford senior Kristie Ahn’s signature win last season was a dramatic three-set victory that clinched the Cardinal’s NCAA championship over Texas A&M.
The stakes weren’t as high on Saturday afternoon at the Bank of the West Classic, but Ahn moved one step closer to reaching the main draw with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over fellow American Abigail Spears in the first round of qualifying.
Backed by a vocal contingent of fellow student-athletes and Stanford tennis fans, Ahn rebounded from a sluggish first set and led the deciding set 5-0 before Spears collected a game. Ahn, a two-time All-American and one of three Cardinal players receiving wild cards, will next face No. 5 seed Vera Dushevina on Sunday.
Stanford’s two other qualifying entrants, sophomore Krista Hardebeck and recent graduate Stacey Tan, dropped their qualifying matches. Hardebeck suffered a hard-fought 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Petra Rampre while Tan was upended 6-1, 6-3 by No. 8 seed Sachie Ishizu.
Only one other seeded player was in action on Saturday, as No. 7 Gabriela Dabrowski defeated wild card Tori Kinard 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Also participating in the qualifying draw is Coco Vandeweghe, who last year fell to eventual champion Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Vandeweghe, who last year became the first lucky loser to reach a WTA final since Melinda Czink’s runner-up finish at Canberra in 2007, posted a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Raquel Kops-Jones on Saturday.
Sunday’s action features eight matches. Qualifying is free and open to the public. Four qualifiers advance into the main draw.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $795,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters.
ABOUT BANK OF THE WEST: Founded in 1874, $62 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 600 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.
ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com.