Where: Taube Family Tennis Stadium, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
When: July 31 - Aug. 6
Defending champions: Johanna Konta (singles); Raquel Atawo and Abigail Spears (doubles)
Tournament website: www.mubadalasvc.com
Set in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women’s-only professional tennis tournament in the world. The second stop of the 2017 US Open Series, the event was first held in 1971 and today it features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Former champions include Martina Navratilova, who holds the record with five singles titles, inaugural champion Billie Jean King, four-time titlist Kim Clijsters and three-time winner Chris Evert.
The Williams sisters have combined to win the singles title five times – Venus in 2000 and 2002 and Serena in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Lindsay Davenport (three), Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Zina Garrison, and Andrea Jaeger (twice each) have all won the event multiple times.
By the time the 2016 field was reduced to the last two women standing, fans were assured of watching history unfold on the final day of play. Johanna Konta was vying for her first career WTA title in her maiden championship match, while Venus Williams was chasing her third Bank of the West crown and her 50th career title.
In a seesaw affair that lasted two hours and 18 minutes, it was Konta who prevailed, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, to become the first British woman to claim the Bank of the West Classic championship since 1977, when Sue Barker defeated Virginia Wade in an all-British final.
Konta, who entered the tournament as the highest-ranked player without a WTA title, became the fourth different tournament winner in the last six years, joining Angelique Kerber (2015), Serena Williams (2011-12, 2014) and Dominika Cibulkova (2013).
In the doubles competition, the second-seeded duo of Raquel Atawo and Abigail Spears defeated the third-seeded tandem of Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova 6-3, 6-4. It was the second Bank of the West Classic doubles crown for Atawo and Spears, who also won in 2013.
The Bank of the West Classic has a history of luring a combination of Grand Slam champions and rising Americans, offering fans an opportunity to see both the present and the future of the sport in an intimate college campus setting.
The 2017 tournament boasts a strong field that includes 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova as its top two seeds, joined by wild-card selection and multiple-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova. Also slated to compete are Top 20 players Madison Keys and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as well as a handful of Keys' fellow up-and-coming Americans including Australian Open semifinalist and world No. 23 CoCo Vandeweghe, 2017 Wimbledon girls' champion Claire Liu, 2016 US Open girls' champion Kayla Day, Jennifer Brady, Alison Riske and local star CiCi Bellis, the youngest player in the women's Top 50.
Click here to see the complete list of players competing.
Net Generation Events
Kids' Day: Monday, July 31
High School Day: Monday, July 31
NJTL Clinic: Thursday, Aug. 3
In a sign of things to come on the North American hard courts, Kerber defeated Pliskova, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, to capture the 2015 Bank of the West title. A little over one year later, Kerber defeated Pliskova again to win the US Open by a similar scoreline, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
- Ashley Marshall