Top Seeds Svitolina, Sabalenka, Sakkari Move On At Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic In San Jose
By Thomas Cluck
(July 31, 2019) Day three at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose saw the second round get underway with some of the tournament’s top seeds leading the Wednesday schedule on Stadium, with many stars playing in their opening matches of the tournament after receiving a bye into round two, likely their debut this American hard court season in the US Open Series.
First on Stadium today was defending finalist Maria Sakkari of Greece, who kept her Bay Area magic going with a comeback victory over unknown Japanese-woman Mayo Hibi 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“I know I didn’t play great, but I came back. I never stopped believing that I could win,” said Sakkari. “I fought hard and that’s why I think I turned the match around. I had to be more patient. I was not patient at all in the first set-and-a-half.”
“With some good shots and some good serves, I think my serve was a big key for my game today. I’m very happy that I went through this battle today,” commented the Greek.
Sakkari survived the tricky, solid play of Hibi and showed her own strong hard court game that she hopes will take her one better towards the title in Northern California this year.
“I really like the courts here, because they’re bouncy and they suit my game well,” commented Sakkari, who enjoyed a magical run to the final here last year before falling to Romanian lefty Mihaela Buzarnescu. “I love California. I really love it here. If I play the right way and I do the right things playing here in San Jose feels very, very good, and good for my game.”
Tournament top seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, fresh off a career-best Grand Slam run to the semifinals of Wimbledon earlier this month, came out confident and stormed past a player very much struggling for confidence this season, crafty, talented Russian Daria Kasatkina. Under the afternoon California summer sun, Svitolina strutted past Kasatkina, who took out the defending champion Buzarnescu on Monday, 6-3, 6-1 in dominant fashion.
“I think I played quite a solid match for my first match on hardcourts. We’re back on hardcourts, so I’m excited for all the matches here and overall this part of the season,” said Svitolina.
“I just try to fight for every point. I don’t really think so much about what’s happening on the other side of the net,” commented the Ukrainian. “She’s a very tricky player, she has good hands, and she always puts up a fight.”
“I had to really fight for every point, and in the end I think I was more solid today.”
“I’m always trying to put my best forward when I go on court,” said the number one seed. “It’s a big honor to play here, the atmosphere is very nice. I’m looking forward to my next round.”
The comeback story of this tournament was stopped short on Wednesday as big-hitting second-seeded Belaursian Aryna Sabalenka powered past American Coco Vandeweghe, who won her first match on Monday in her comeback to the WTA after being out for the last nine months with ankle and foot injuries. Sabalenka showed her strength in her aggressive, power game, out-hitting the big-serving Vandeweghe to win 6-3, 6-3.
The night session on Stadium saw two tour veterans in Spain’s Carla Suarez-Navarro and American fan-favorite Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who stunned seven-time major winner Venus Williams last night. After a competitive opening set that went the way of Mattek-Sands, it was all Suarez-Navarro as she rebounded impressively to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 to move on to the last eight.
The remainder of the quarterfinal field will be set on day four at San Jose State University as American rising star 17 year-old Amanada Anisimova was announced for the day session on Thursday while the popcorn battle between two-time Australian Open champion and Donna Vekic was announced for Thursday’s night session.
“I grew up playing on hardcourt so that’s my number one surface,” said Anisimova.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve been training really hard and I’m pretty happy with it. I’m really excited to be back here because I really like this tournament.”
Thursday’s schedule in San Jose will also see Belgium’s Elise Mertens begin her Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic campaign against American and Stanford star Kristie Ahn in the day session.
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic
July 29 – August 4, 2019
San Jose, CA, USA
RESULTS – JULY 31, 2019
Singles – Second Round
 E. Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] D. Kasatkina (RUS) 63 61
 A. Sabalenka (BLR) d [WC] C. Vandeweghe (USA) 63 63
 C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [WC] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 36 61 62
 M. Sakkari (GRE) d [Q] M. Hibi (JPN) 46 64 62
Doubles – First Round
 L. Kichenok (UKR) / N. Kichenok (UKR) d M. Bouzkova (CZE) / P. Hon (AUS) 76(5) 62
E. Perez (AUS) / H. Watson (GBR) d E. Routliffe (NZL) / S. Santamaria (USA) 62 46 10-
[PR] M. Adamczak (AUS) / S. Sanders (AUS) d K. Ahn (USA) / M. Brengle (USA) 62 64
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 01, 2019
STADIUM start 11:00 am
S. Zheng (CHN) vs  D. Collins (USA)
[Q] K. Ahn (USA) vs  E. Mertens (BEL)
Not Before 3:00 pm
 A. Anisimova (USA) vs M. Brengle (USA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 D. Vekic (CRO) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)
 N. Melichar (USA) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Ninomiya (JPN)
COURT 1 start Not Before 4:30 pm
after suitable rest – E. Liang (TPE) / S. Zheng (CHN) vs E. Perez (AUS) / H. Watson (GBR)