2012 Bank of the West Classic Main Draw Announced

2012 Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, along with Marion Bartoli, headline this year’s field.

STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com) – The 2012 Bank of the West Classic singles draw was announced Saturday afternoon at Stanford Shopping Center, with defending champion Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli both earning first-round byes and locking up the top two seeds, respectively.

There are several notable matchups on both sides of the draw, which should make for another competitive tournament when main draw competition gets underway on Monday, July 9.

The first quarter of the draw features top-seeded Williams, who defeated Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in last year’s Bank of the West Classic singles final. Williams is bidding to become the first player to win the Bank of the West Classic in consecutive seasons since Kim Clijsters accomplished the feat in 2005 and 2006. Williams should have plenty of momentum heading into the match, fresh off her fifth career Wimbledon title and 14th major championship overall. Williams will open the tournament against either a qualifier or Stanford junior Nicole Gibbs, the 2012 NCAA singles and doubles champion. Chanelle Scheepers, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, battles a qualifier in her opening contest.

A potential clash between No. 3 seed Dominika Cibulkova and No. 7 Petra Martic highlights the second quarter of the draw. Cibulkova, who reached the semifinals at last year’s Bank of the West Classic, is currently ranked No. 13 and will face a qualifier after earning a first-round bye. Martic will square off against Vania King in her opening matchup. This portion of the draw will also feature a first round match between two qualifiers.

Headlining the third quarter of the draw is No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic, who is currently ranked No. 21. Jankovic, the former World No. 1 and quarterfinalist at this year’s French Open, meets the winner of Melinda Czink and Bojana Jovanovski following a first-round bye. At the top of the draw is No. 8 seed Marina Erakovic, who knocked off top-seeded Victoria Azarenka in last year’s tournament to reach the quarterfinals. Erakovic opens her tourney run against Sorana Cirstea.

No. 2 seed Marion Bartoli, the 2009 Bank of the West Classic champion, is the key player to watch in the lower portion of the draw. After a first-round bye, Bartoli’s opponent will be either Anne Keothavong or wildcard Mallory Burdette, a senior three-time All-American from Stanford who has also won back-to-back NCAA doubles titles. No. 5 seed Yanina Wickmayer, a two-time runner-up this year with three career titles to her credit, starts her tournament run against Kai-Chen Chang. Also in the mix is American rising star Sloane Stephens, who will battle Heather Watson.

The 2012 Bank of the West Classic will be held from July 9-15 at the Taube Family Tennis Center at Stanford University.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 866-WTA-TIXS (866-982-8497) or by logging on to www.mubadalasvc.com. Individual session tickets to the tournament’s opening round start at $26.

ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is one of the oldest women-only professional tennis tournaments in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. A WTA Premier event, the Bank of the West Classic features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $740,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams. The Bank of the West Classic is owned and operated by IMG.

ABOUT BANK OF THE WEST: Founded in 1874, $62.4 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 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, India and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing.  More details available at www.imgworld.com.