By Jack Cunniff
(August 17, 2013) NEW HAVEN – The Women’s Singles Qualifying draw of the New Haven Open is always an interesting mix. The strength of the Women’s Singles draw translates to several Top 50 players placed in qualifying to earn their way to the main draw. And there are some more obscure players, ranked outside of the WTA Top 200. But because qualifying for the U.S. Open is held the same week as New Haven, the bulk of players ranked between 100 and 200 are missing from action.
(Of course, an enterprising player could always attempt to play both U.S. Open qualifying and a tour event, as John Ross did in 1987. Ross, an American, alternated between the U.S. Open qualifying at The National Tennis Center, and the ATP stop in Rye, NY. He was successful, too, defeating Thomas Muster and Jaime Yzaga en route to the finals at Rye, and qualifying for the U.S. Open.)
Most of the qualifying draw is comprised of players ranked in the 40-100 range, which means that qualifiers often find success in the New Haven main draw. In 2011, Petra Cetkovska was ranked No. 40, successfully played her way to the main draw, then defeated three of the top five seeds (Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, and Li Na) en route to the finals. Cetkovska wasn’t the first qualifier in recent memory to reach the finals; in 2007, Agnes Szavay qualified then reached the final as well.
So which 2013 qualifier might be destined for success?
The list of candidates featured a former Wimbledon semifinalist (Tsvetana Pironkova, 2010), a former U.S. Open semifinalist (Yanina Wickmayer, 2009), and a former top-ten player who reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals on three occasions (Flavia Pennetta, 2008-09, 2011). But two of those players were ushered out in the second round of qualifying.
Pennetta, the 31-year-old Italian veteran still on the comeback trail from wrist surgery a year ago, was facing a player more than a decade younger, 19-year-old Annika Beck. Pennetta showed her old form in taking the first set, but midway through the second set she called the trainer for a lower back injury. Once Beck closed out the second set, Pennetta was forced to retire the match.
Pironkova is better known for her grass court success, but showed solid hard court play early in the match against her teenage opponent, Caroline Garcia from France. But Pironkova could only convert one of twenty break points in the first two sets. Strong serving from Garcia in the third set troubled Pironkova, and Garcia prevailed, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.
Wickmayer had more success today, battling from a set down to eliminate Olga Puchkova. Other players in the qualifying draw who hope to make an impression in the main draw of New Haven include Monica Puig, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last month; Elina Svitolina, an 18-year-old Ukranian who has won her last two events; Yaroslava Shvedova, the former Top Thirty player and Grand Slam Doubles champion best known for winning a “Golden Set” at 2012 Wimbledon; and Alison Riske, an American whose ranking has jumped from No. 171 in June to her current rank of No.98.
NEW HAVEN OPEN AT YALE PRESENTED BY FIRST NIAGARA – NEW HAVEN, USA
AUGUST 16 – AUGUST 24, 2013
RESULTS – AUGUST 17, 2013
Qualifying Singles – Second Round
Qualifying – E Svitolina (UKR) d J Cepelova (SVK) 63 63
Qualifying – A Beck (GER) d F Pennetta (ITA) 36 62 00 Retired
Qualifying – S Voegele (SUI) d A Cadantu (ROU) 62 60
Qualifying – M Puig (PUR) d S Arvidsson (SWE) 62 52 Retired
Qualifying – A Morita (JPN) d A Medina Garrigues (ESP) 63 62
Qualifying – Y Wickmayer (BEL) d O Puchkova (RUS) 36 61 63
Qualifying – K Knapp (ITA) d [WC] A Mueller (USA) 36 76(0) 62
Qualifying – C Garcia (FRA) d T Pironkova (BUL) 67(5) 76(2) 63
Qualifying – A Riske (USA) d I Begu (ROU) 26 76(2) 62
Qualifying – M Duque-Marino (COL) d A Hlavackova (CZE) 75 75
Qualifying – A Schmiedlova (SVK) d S Zhang (CHN) 64 63
Qualifying – Y Shvedova (KAZ) d Y Duan (CHN) 76(6) 64
Championship – Quarterfinals
 J Dadamo (USA) d D Gooch (RSA) 62 64
M Pecotic (CRO) d  P Daciek (USA) 63 62
 C Boyce (USA) d E Orkin (USA) 63 62
T Larson (USA) d A Ball (USA) 62 63
Championship – Quarterfinals
 M Hibi (JPN) d M Okruashvili (GEO) 62 61
 N Melichar (USA) d K Mckenna (USA) 64 63
L Graff (USA) d  N Kukharchuk (RUS) 67(3) 64 61
 P Porter (USA) d M Kelley (USA) 62 64
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2013
STADIUM start 11:00 am
Qualifying – A Beck (GER) vs K Knapp (ITA) – WTA
Qualifying – M Puig (PUR) vs C Garcia (FRA) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
 S Lisicki (GER) vs K Mladenovic (FRA) – WTA
N Grandin (RSA) / D Jurak (CRO) vs  A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA
GRANDSTAND start 12:30 pm
Qualifying – M Duque-Marino (COL) vs A Morita (JPN) – WTA
Qualifying – A Riske (USA) vs Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA
S Aoyama (JPN) / A Klepac (SLO) vs I Begu (ROU) / O Govortsova (BLR) – WTA
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – E Svitolina (UKR) vs A Schmiedlova (SVK) – WTA
Qualifying – S Voegele (SUI) vs Y Shvedova (KAZ) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
H Chan (TPE) / J Husarova (SVK) vs L Hradecka (CZE) / K Zakopalova (CZE) – WTA
COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
L Graff (USA) vs  N Melichar (USA) – USONP
 C Boyce (USA) vs M Pecotic (CRO) – USONP
 M Hibi (JPN) vs  P Porter (USA) – USONP
 J Dadamo (USA) vs T Larson (USA) – USONP