When Nicole Gibbs won her match today over Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand at the , she set herself up as the very next opponent that Serena Williams will face coming off her Wimbledon singles and doubles championship in London last week.
"I haven't processed that yet," said Gibbs at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
"Serena was one of my idols growing up and I'm in awe of her," added Gibbs.
Gibbs is rather awe inspiring herself. She finished up her sophomore year at Stanford as singles and doubles NCAA champion, and has resisted the calls to go pro saying she'd like to finish out her college career at Stanford to take advantage of the coaching, facilities and education.
"I just declared my major this week—economics," said the Cleveland native.
Williams, who had a bye in the first round, is the top seed at the tournament that opened on Tuesday at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center. Other top seeds include Marion Bartoli (2),Dominika Cibulkova (3), and Jelena Jankovic (4).
Williams told Patch that despite her crazy schedule, she really wanted to come to Palo Alto to play in the Bank of the West Classic.
"I really wanted to come here more than anything. I'm not even sure what day it is, but I love coming here," said Williams.
"It feels like this is where I began. It all started here--I won this tournament last year and played pretty good the rest of the year. It was the best thing I could have done."
Prior to her Wimbledon success, Williams had experienced a stunning first-round defeat at the French Open.
When asked if her poor showing in Paris might mean she would never be able to attain her level of tennis again, she answered, "It's really weird but I've never felt so good and so fit. I never wanted to stop playing and i wanted to get healthy and feel better. Age has nothing to do with it."
"I was really upset i didn't get to where my outfit more than once---that was most upsetting."
"Once I set a goal for myself, I always reach it," Williams added.
Shortly after Bank of the West, Williams will head back to London where she will play on the U.S. Olympic Tennis Team.
"And in between, I'll be on HSN (Home Shopping Network) on July 18 with my clothing line," quipped Williams.
Gibbs's goal will be to take Serena in straight sets, and she knows she'll have the hometown crowd behind her.
"This is my first WTA draw and it will be good to have my hometown fans there to remind me that I'm on my home court," said Gibbs.
When asked how she felt about facing Williams, Gibbs confidently answered, "Serena's a reasonable jump."
Nicole Gibbs will face Serena Williams on Wednesday. For scheduling and ticket information, go to www.bankofthewestclassic.com/.