Gibbs to meet Serena Williams at Bank of the West
Seeded players Marina Erakovic and Sorana Cirstea both advanced to the second round of the Bank of the West Classic with straight sets victories on Tuesday.
New Zealand's Erakovic was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Jana Juricova of Slovakia, setting up a second-round meeting with Poland's Urszula Radwanska, who beat Eleni Daniilidou.
Romania's Cirstea beat American Vania King 7-5, 6-4, and will next meet lucky loser Zheng Saisai of China, who advanced when Ayumi Morita was forced to retire with a lower-back injury when trailing 4-2 in the first set.
American wild card Nicole Gibbs beat Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-4, 6-4 and her reward is a second-round meeting with top seed and newly crowned Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
''I am so in awe of her. She is one of my idols,'' Gibbs said. ''It will be such an honor to share the court with her. I grew up watching the Williams sisters. For a while they were American tennis.''
Gibbs, the collegiate singles and doubles champion this year, is coming off a victory in a modest ITF event in Denver.
''I have been competing better than I ever have in my life,'' Gibbs said. ''This added a level of excitement for me. Knowing I could play Serena gave me the incentive to stay in points.''
Gibbs was two years old when Williams turned pro in 1995 and served as her ball girl during an exhibition match in Cleveland 10 years later.
Mallory Burdette, Gibbs' college doubles partner, also advanced with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Anne Keothavong of Britain.