tanford, California – It took three sets, but Maria Sharapova made a winning return to competive tennis in the United States with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 win over American Jennifer Brady in the opening round of the 2017 Bank of the West Classic.
Sharapova, who was playing in her first match on American soil since March of 2015, looked in fine form early-on breaking Brady’s serve four times in a 6-1 first set win.
Brady found her game in the second set jumping out to 3-0 lead. Sharapova proceded to win the next three to even things at 3-3. Brady, however, would brake Sharapova in the following game and then held on to take the set 6-4.
That would be the last game Brady would win as the five-time Grand Slam champion took the final set at love.
Sharapova advances to the second round and will face seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko who defeated Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3 in the opening match of the day.
The final match of the evening pitted Nicole Gibbs, a former NCAA Champion from Stanford, and wildcard Claire Liu, the reigning Wimbledon junior champion. In an evenly matched battle Gibbs cameback after dropping the first set to win 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5).
Others advancing on the opening day included fifth-seed Ana Konjuh, Kayla Day and Natalia Vikhlyantseva.
Tuesday’s day session line-up includes sixth-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe taking on Ajla Tomljanovic in the third match on stadium followed by former Stanford star Kristie Ahn battling qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg.
Fans attending the day session will also see Madison Keys with doubles partner Jennifer Brady taking on the tournament’s top-seeded team of Raquel Atawo and Hao-Ching Chan at 2:30 on Court 6.
The evening session will feature No. 8 seed CiCi Bellis, from nearby Atherton, against the always-dangerous Alize Cornet from France. The final match of the evening will be 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone versus Kateryna Bondarenko.
The Bank of the West Classic, a Premier WTA event, features a 28-player singles draw as well as a 16-team doubles draw. The event is owned and operated by IMG and serves as the opening women's event of the US Open Series.
Tickets for the Bank of the West Classic are on sale now with individual session tickets for the opening round start at just $34. The Bank of the West Classic also provides fans with multiple money-saving ticket packages that start as low as $192 for Night Session Packages, $265 for Weekend Packages and $620 for Full Week Packages. Groups of 15 or more can also receive discounts of up to 20%.
Go to www.mubadalasvc.com or call (866) 982-8497 to secure your tickets today.
The Bank of the West Classic offers several different seat options with prices to fit everyone's budget so reserve your seats today. Qualifying will be held July 29-30 and is free to the public.
The list of past champions of the event reads like a Who's Who of women's tennis including Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters.
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 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 $776,000. 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: Bank of the West is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $77.2 billion in assets as of March 31, 2016. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 600 offices in 23 states and digital channels. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 75 countries with 185,000 employees.
ABOUT THE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 14th season, the world's best players on the WTA and ATP World Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true regular season of hard court tennis.
Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today's top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow's emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grassroots youth tennis clinics and activities.
ABOUT IMG: IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions.