2014 Tournament Preview: Bank of the West Classic

February 10, 2014 01:31 PM
Dominika Cibulkova poses with the trophy after winning the 2013 Bank of the West Classic.
Where: Stanford University, Stanford, CA
When: July 28 – Aug. 3, 2014
Defending Champions: Dominika Cibulkova (singles); Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears (doubles)
Tournament Website: BankoftheWestClassic.com
History: A West Coast tennis tradition since 1971, the Bank of the West Classic champions list reads like a “who’s who” of legendary women’s players. Four-time US Open singles champion Billie Jean King won three solo titles in Stanford (1971-72, 1974), along with four doubles crowns. Another International Tennis Hall of Famer, Martina Navratilova, owns the all-time tournament record for singles titles with five (1979-80, 1988, 1991, 1993). In its 43rd year, the Bank of the West Classic is the oldest women’s-only tournament in the world.

2013 Recap: Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska had never lost to feisty three-seed Dominika Cibulkova in their four head-to-head matchups as professionals. Yet after snaring the first set in last year’s Stanford final, Radwanska was victimized by the Slovak’s drop shots and stout backhand. Cibulkova also cut down on the slew of unforced errors that brought on the early deficit and won the two-hour, 30-minute battle, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Cibulkova also defeated Radwanska’s younger sister, Urszula, in the quarterfinals in straight sets.

In doubles, Americans reigned as the veteran California-born team of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears defended their home court. The top-ranked duo dispatched no. 2 seeds Julia Görges and Darija Jurak, 6-2, 7-6, in the final.

2014 Preview: The Bank of the West Classic moves up a week in the women’s tennis calendar, meaning that the player pool should feature bigger and brighter stars to kick off the women’s portion of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. At the top of potential attractions would be World No. 1 Serena Williams. The 17-time Grand Slam singles tournament champion won back-to-back BOTWC titles in 2011-12 before missing last year’s event.

Fun Fact: Cibulkova’s best tennis is played on Pacific Standard Time. Two of her three career WTA titles have come while serving it up in California. In 2012, Cibulkova defeated future Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad.
- Nicholas J. Walz