Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 12, 2013

Stanford's Gibbs receives wild card into tourney

by Keith Peters

Being a two-time NCAA singles champion does have its perks. Stanford's Nicole Gibbs learned that on Thursday as she was given a wild card into the main draw of the 2013 Bank of the West Classic.

It's the second time in as many years that Gibbs has received a wild card after winning the NCAA title.

Gibbs was not alone in the gift-receiving department as Daniela Hantuchova also received a wild card into the main event, set for July 22-28 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center.

Gibbs recently completed her junior year by leading the Cardinal to the NCAA team title while capturing her second consecutive NCAA singles title and earning All-America honors for the third time. With her team and individual titles this year, she became the first player to win both since former Stanford standout Amber Liu in 2009.

Gibbs, who has given up her senior year in order to turn pro, advanced to the second round of last year's Bank of the West Classic before falling to eventual tournament champion Serena Williams in straight sets.

Hantuchova, who was once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, is an eight-time winner on the WTA tour including a victory this season at the AEGON Classic in June. Hantuchova has competed in the Bank of the West Classic in years prior, making it to the semifinals in 2007 and the quarterfinals in 2005 and 2009.

In other news, world No. 17 Sabine Lisicki has been forced to withdraw from the Bank of the West due to a wrist injury. Lisicki made an impressive run at this year's Wimbledon Championships advancing to the final before losing to Marion Bartoli.

Bartoli, along with fellow Wimbledon semifinalists Agnieszka Radwanska and Kirsten Flipkens, will face a Bank of the West Classic player field loaded with former Grand Slam champions. Those currently entered in this event include three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

The Bank of the West Classic will also host several up and coming American stars who are already accepted into the main draw including Madison Keys, Jamie Hampton, and Varvara Lepchenko. In addition, fellow Americans Christina McHale and Mallory Burdette are currently in the qualifying draw.

Qualifying begins July 20 and is free and open to the public. The qualifying list will include some household names that tennis fans surely will recognize.

Burdette returns to her alma mater where she posted a 60-8 overall record in her three seasons at Stanford and helped lead the Cardinal to the 2010 national title. Burdette reached last year's main draw where she was ousted by Bartoli.

One of the bigger names competing in qualifying this year is Kimiko Date-Krumm, who five career titles to her credit and reached the third round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year. Date-Krumm once was ranked as high as No. 4 in the world.

Last year's runner-up, Coco Vandeweghe, will be making her third straight appearance at the Bank of the West Classic. In 2012, Vandeweghe received a lucky loser entry into the main draw and made the most of the opportunity recording wins over No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic and No. 5 seed Yanina Wickmayer en route to the final.

2013 Wimbledon surprise Michelle Larcher De Brito will also be competing in qualifying rounds. Larcher De Brito defeated Sharapova, 6-3, 6-4, in the second round of this year's Wimbledon Championships.

Marina Erakovic who made the third round at Wimbledon and the French Open this year is also slotted to compete in this year's qualifying draw. Erakovic won the US National Indoor Championships at Memphis earlier this year.

2009 US Open standout Melanie Oudin is also slotted to compete in this year's qualifying. Oudin made a name for herself when she advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2009 US Open. Oudin will be making her third appearance at the Bank of the West Classic and her first since 2010.

Tickets for the 2013 Bank of the West Classic can be purchased by calling the box office at 866-WTA-TIXS (866-982-8497) or by logging on to www.BankoftheWestClassic.com.

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 Emirates Airline US Open Series.

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