July 7, 2012
STANFORD, Calif.- Junior Kristie Ahn and sophomore Ellen Tsay both dropped their opening-round matches on Saturday afternoon in singles qualifying at the 2012 Bank of the West Classic.
Saturday's action produced eight winners in the qualifying draw, which resumes Sunday with four qualifiers earning spots in the main draw.
The start of Saturday's competition more closely resembled a Stanford dual match, as Tsay and Ahn played back-to-back contests inside the stadium with several Cardinal fans in attendance.
Tsay won the first set before Noppawan Lertcheewakarn eventually pulled out the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. It was a similar outcome to last year's qualifying round, when Tsay dropped a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 three-setter to Sheng-Nan Sun.
Tsay finished 24-8 overall and 17-4 in duals in her rookie year on The Farm, playing mainly at the No. 4 spot of the lineup. She earned a final No. 74 national singles ranking and provided the clinching point in five matches.
Up next inside the stadium was Ahn, who dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to Erika Sema. Playing in the qualifying round for the second straight year, Ahn was beaten 7-5, 6-0 by Abigail Spears in the opening round last season.
An All-American in singles and ITA National Rookie of the Year in 2010, Ahn competed in only three matches last year while missing almost the entire season due to injuries. However, she returned from a two-month layoff to participate in Stanford's NCAA quarterfinal match against USC on May 19, competing at No. 3 doubles and nearly pulling off a three-set win at No. 4 singles before her match was abandoned. Ahn has since continued to make progress in her recovery.
Meanwhile, senior Mallory Burdette and junior Nicole Gibbs were awarded wildcards into the main singles draw, which was also announced on Saturday.
Burdette meets Anne Keothavong in the first round, with the winner earning a matchup against No. 2 seed Marion Bartoli, the 2009 Bank of the West Classic champion. Gibbs faces a qualifier in her first-round match, with the winner squaring off against No. 1 seed and 14-time major champion Serena Williams.
Burdette is also a two-time NCAA doubles champion, teaming with Gibbs to win this year's title one season after bringing home the crown with Hilary Barte. The 2012 NCAA singles runner-up, Burdette has compiled a 104-22 overall singles record in three seasons and provided the clinching point in Stanford's 2010 NCAA championship victory against Florida.
Gibbs is coming off one of the best seasons in school history, becoming only the third player in NCAA history to capture both the NCAA singles and doubles titles in the same season. Stanford's first NCAA singles champion since Amber Liu in 2004, Gibbs was also named the 2012 Honda Sports Award recipient and ITA National Player of the Year. In just two seasons, Gibbs has produced an 87-11 overall record and 48-2 mark in dual match play.
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.BankoftheWestClassic.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.