The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic kicked off its opening day at San Jose State’s South Campus Monday afternoon. This is the first time the event is being held in San Jose and at the newly built tennis facility at SJSU.
The opening day of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic featured six singles matches and two doubles matches, including the doubles team of SJSU graduate Sybille Gauvain and junior Tamara Culibrk.
The doubles team of Gauvain and Culibrk lost 2-0 in the round of 16 to the number two-seeded team of Mihaela Buzamescu and Heather Watson, who are both ranked as top-100 doubles players in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings.
Prior to the start of the matches on opening day, the top four seeds in the women’s singles draw spoke about the newly built tennis facility at SJSU.
“I think it’s a good change and they did a pretty good job with center court, the practice courts and I think they improved a lot of the area where the players are, so I think that is important for us to make us feel better,” number one-seeded Garbine Muguruza said.
California native and number three-seeded Venus Williams talked about her transition from the tournament being held in Palo Alto to San Jose.
“I’ve never been here, so I just started having a look around and of course the tournament has so much history especially since this was my first official,” Williams said. “Each rendition of the event will always have a special place in my heart for that reason.”
The fourth seed Elise Mertens is making her first appearance at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic and talked a little bit about her experiences in San Jose so far.
“It is really well organized and this is my first time in San Jose and the first time I have played this tournament,” Mertens said. “And after playing in Miami last week, the humidity is far less than there so it has been nice.”
Defending champion of the tournament and the number two seed Madison Keys expressed her excitement at getting the opportunity to hoist the trophy again at the end of the tournament.
“I think the new stadium looks amazing and really nice so I’m excited to get the chance to play here, but coming in and defending is obviously something I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of, so I’m looking forward to try to do that,” Keys said.
The feature match of the day came between two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka and Kateryna Bondarenko in the evening session of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. Azarenka went on to defeat Bondarenko in three sets 2-1 in a match that lasted two hours and 40 minutes.
Azarenka won the first four games of the first set and won the set 6-3 over Bondarenko. Azarenka fell behind early in the second set 5-2 and went on to lose the second set 7-6 to Bondarenko, forcing a third set in the match.
Azarenka mentioned some of the struggles for her in the second set.
“I did have some struggles and I obviously didn’t take my chances even though I created a lot,” Azarenka said. “But these things happen sometimes and the important thing is how well you recover and if you are able to find the solution in that moment.”
Azarenka fell down early in the third set 2-0, but went on to win six of the next eight games to win the third set 6-4 and take victory over Bondarenko 2-1 in the match.
Azarenka is scheduled to play Muguruza in the next round on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.