Defending Finalist Sakkari, Stanford Alum Kristie Ahn Winners On Day One In San Jose
By Thomas Cluck
(July 29, 2019)It was a bright and early start for the players and fans in San Jose and opening day saw a light start to the main draw action at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, the first women’s event on the US Open Series. With the draw revealed and set, the training and practice done, and the pre-tournament festivities over, day one on the campus of San Jose State University saw some notable results for two players familiar with Northern California success.
The story of day one came from former NCAA champion and Stanford alum Kristie Ahn of the US, outlasting the big-hitting, dangerous, and often erratic Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes on Stadium. Ahn, a 27 year-old journeywoman still working to build her professional career after a strong collegiate run up the road in the Bay Area at this tournament’s former home at Stanford, survived the powerful, daring hitting of 26 year-old Tomljanovic to claim another big, stepping-stone victory for the New Jersey native.
After a magical Bay Area run here on the courts of San Jose last year, defending finalist Maria Sakkari of Greece showed her Spartan-like run at the home of the San Jose State Spartans was no fluke, dispatching a young and flat-hitting Russian in Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour. Sakkari, who fell to Romanian lefty Mihaela Buzarnescu in last year’s final, comes back to San Jose a WTA champion after hoisting the trophy earlier this year on the clay in Rabat, and is looking to get her American hard court season off to a strong start ahead of the US Open.
Monday was also all-access hour in San Jose as the top seeds spoke to the media ahead of their tournament campaigns beginning later this week. The top two seeds here- Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka- were both announced to play their second round matches in Wednesday’s day session and Svitolina, fresh off a career-best result at a Grand Slam making the semifinals earlier this month at Wimbledon, discussed her American hard court season preparation and the lingering knee injury that has bothered her this year.
“It’s about adjustments. Tennis is always like this,” said Svitolina, the defending WTA Finals champion. “The goal, though, is to always win the tournament. This draw is quite difficult.”
While Svitolina’s San Jose campaign will begin Wednesday, this packed and intriguing draw will see some of the biggest names take to the court tomorrow on day two, with Tuesday featuring fifth seed Donna Vekic and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the day session on Stadium and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the night session.
More to follow…
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic
July 29 – August 4, 2019
San Jose, CA, USA
RESULTS – JULY 29, 2019
Singles – First Round
 C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d M. Linette (POL) 63 63
 M. Sakkari (GRE) d E. Alexandrova (RUS) 61 64
[WC] D. Kasatkina (RUS) d M. Buzarnescu (ROU) 62 62
[Q] M. Hibi (JPN) d [Q] T. Babos (HUN) 62 36 76(3)
[Q] K. Ahn (USA) d A. Tomljanovic (AUS) 63 46 64
[WC] C. Vandeweghe (USA) d M. Bouzkova (CZE) 62 64
Doubles – First Round
E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Ninomiya (JPN) d [PR] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / S. Peng (CHN) 62 64
ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
STADIUM start 10:00 am
 D. Vekic (CRO) vs M. Doi (JPN)
Not Before 12:00 pm
H. Watson (GBR) vs S. Zheng (CHN)
S. Zhang (CHN) vs  D. Collins (USA)
[Q] H. Tan (FRA) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[WC] V. Williams (USA) vs [WC] B. Mattek-Sands (USA)
M. Brengle (USA) vs A. Petkovic (GER)
COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
S. Aoyama (JPN) / E. Shibahara (JPN) vs M. Sakkari (GRE) / A. Tomljanovic (AUS)
Not Before 3:00 pm
after suitable rest –  M. Buzarnescu (ROU) / S. Zhang (CHN) vs E. Liang (TPE) / S. Zheng (CHN)