Sakkari Survives Svitolina Epic, Sabalenka Outlasts Suarez-Navarro, Vekic Ends Ahn’s Run To Reach San Jose Semis
By Thomas Cluck
(August 2, 2019) A thrilling day of play was on tap for Friday at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, as the intriguing field of last eight prospects looked to break through in their quarterfinals and make the final four on Saturday.
With a talented field that remains wide open for the title to be awarded Sunday in the Bay Area, this first stop on the US Open Series, a WTA Premier event, leaves all eight remaining players looking to breakout ahead of the US Open with a semifinal showing here.
Opening play on Stadium was big-hitting Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, the number two seed, surviving a strong start from veteran Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro to eventually book her spot in the semis 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 after over two hours under the Northern California sun.
The last four showing here in San Jose couldn’t come at a more crucial time for Sabalenka as the breakout star of last year’s US Open Series looks to reestablish herself as a major contender on tour following a mediocre 2019 season so far. With title points from another WTA Premier event in New Haven coming off at the end of the month, this week is proving to be a chance for Sabalenka to get back on track and start her climb up once again.
The match of the day saw last year’s runner-up Maria Sakkari from Greece continue her San Jose magic, hanging on from the brink of defeat down 6-1, 5-2 and saved four match points to outlast top-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, revenge after Svitolina took out Sakkari in three sets last month in the Wimbledon round of 16.
And while one story returned to the hard courts of San Jose for a second-straight year in Sakkari, the home hope American Kristie Ahn, feeling at home in the Bay Area as a Stanford alum, fell in her quarterfinal, her run ending at the hands of Croatia’s Donna Vekic, who took out two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka the night before, 7-5, 6-0.
The courts of San Jose State University will see semifinal action on Saturday at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic as the last four look set to square off for spots in Sunday’s final.