19
Jul
11

2011 Bank of the West Classic might provide Masha with the opportunity to play Serena.

With four top-10 players committed, the 2011 acceptance list proves to be one of the most impressive yet and includes 11 overall players ranked within the top 30 in the world. Highlighting the 41st edition of the Bank of the West Classic will be 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams, three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, defending champion Victoria Azarenka, 2011 French Open semi-finalist, Marion Bartoli, World No. 10 Samantha Stosur, and former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

Maria Sharapova says that she would like a shot at the 13-time Grand Slam champion this summer. Williams has defeated the Russian the last five times they’ve played, twice at the Australian Open and at 2010 Wimbledon. Sharapova and Serena are scheduled to play four of the same events, including Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open. “I love playing against her,” Sharapova said in a conference call to promote the U.S. Open Series. “We’ve had very, very tough matches against each other. I don’t have a great record against her, and I would love to change that. There is no doubt I would love to play her this summer at some point.”

The 2011 Bank of the West Classic will be held from July 25th – 31st. Sharapova, a finalist at last year’s Bank of the West Classic, returns with hopes to reaching the final once again. This year the Russian superstar captured her 23rd WTA singles title in Rome and looks to be returning to the form that helped her win three Grand Slam titles. As a three-time Grand Slam Champion and World No. 6, Sharapova is a fan favorite and will undoubtedly bring excitement to this year’s player field. The commitment of 13-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams further adds to the thrill of this year’s top player field. This will mark Williams’ third appearance at the Bank of the West Classic, after reaching the semi-finals of the tournament in 2009.

Hoping to defend her 2010 singles title, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will arrive at the Bank of the West Classic having already won two singles titles this year at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and on the clay courts in Marbella, Spain. In 2010, the day after her 21st birthday, Azarenka defeated Sharapova to clinch the Bank of the West Classic singles title and earned herself a memorable birthday present. Also returning will be current World No. 9 Marion Bartoli and No. 10 Samantha Stosur. Bartoli, champion of the 2009 Bank of the West Classic, arrives with her sights set on another title run after reaching the semifinals of the French Open earlier this year, as well as the finals of both Indian Wells and Strasbourg. Stosur, who reached the finals at Rome earlier this year, advanced to semis at last year’s Bank of the West Classic.

The tournament also welcomes former World No. 1 Ava Ivanovic. The young Serbian star has a Grand Slam title under her belt having won the 2008 French Open and is a two-time Grand Slam finalist. With the addition of Ivanovic, the tournament will host three total former World No. 1 players. In addition, the Bank of the West Classic will host two former top-10 ranked players, Daniela Hantuchova and Kimiko Date-Krumm. Formally ranked as high as No. 5 in the World, Hantuchova boasts four career WTA singles titles and arrives having won a title at Pattaya City earlier this year. As a former World No. 4, Japanese legend Date-Krumm returned to the WTA in 2008 after a 10-year hiatus, and has earned eight WTA singles titles in her career. Her retirement did not slow her down as she boasts eight top-20 wins in the last year alone. The Bank of the West Classic will also welcome three additional top-20 players including No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 16 Julia Goerges, and No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer.

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