2018 Preview: Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

June 25, 2018 12:27 PM

Where: San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.

When: July 30-Aug. 5

Defending champions: Madison Keys (singles); CoCo Vandeweghe and Abigail Spears (doubles)

Tournament website: www.mubadalasvc.com


With a new title sponsor and venue, the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will continue the tradition of the longest-running women’s-only professional tennis tournament in the world. The WTA Premier event is the second stop of the 2018 US Open Series. First held in 1971, the tournament 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 won the tournament three times, while Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Zina Garrison and Andrea Jaeger each won the event twice. 

2017 Recap

History was made in the tournament’s last year at Stanford University, as all eight seeded players lived up to their billing by reaching the quarterfinals. It was the first time since 2004 that the top eight seeds at a WTA event all made the quarters. 

Americans Madison Keys and CoCo Vandewege met in the final, where Keys powered to a 7-6, 6-3 victory without dropping serve in the match. That straight-sets victory served as a precursor to the pair’s semifinal encounter at the US Open later in the summer, when Keys again blitzed past her compatriot.

On her way to the California trophy, the 23-year-old defeated former world No. 1 Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-3, 6-2, in their semifinal, while Vandeweghe topped CiCi Bellis in the opposite all-American semi.

One round earlier, Bellis scored the upset of the tournament, when she dominated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 6-2, 6-0.

In the doubles draw, Vandeweghe teamed with Abigail Spears to defeat Alize Cornet of France and Alicja Rosolska of Poland, 6-2, 6-3, in the final.

2018 Preview

This year's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic field will be headlined by Serena Williams, who will be making her first appearance in the Bay Area since she won the tournament in 2014. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will be one of three Slam winners and former world No. 1s to compete at the event, alongside Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

Venus, who has won seven Grand Slam singles titles in her career, and Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, are part of a star-studded field that also includes the 2017 finalists.

In addition to Keys and Vandeweghe, the American contingent is expected to be strong once again. Last year’s event included Alison Riske, Jennifer Brady, Claire Liu and Kayla Day, many of whom are expected to return this summer.

Fun Fact

Doubles specialist Abigail Spears has won the tournament each of the past two years, with Raquel Atawo in 2016 and Vandeweghe in 2017. In 2018, Spears has played exclusively with Poland’s Alicja Rosolska, whom she defeated in last year’s final. The world No. 39 doubles player could be in line for a third consecutive trophy with three different partners. It would be her fourth title overall at the event, as she and Atawo also won the title in 2013.

- Arthur Kapetanakis