October 8, 2015

Quarterfinal Action – and Hurricanes, Fires, Cats and Dogs in New Haven

Caroline Wozniacki

By Jack Cunniff

(August 22, 2013) NEW HAVEN – The previous two New Haven Open champions, Caroline Wozniacki (2008-2011) and Petra Kvitova (2012) continued on course for a potential final round clash, each earning quarterfinal victories today.  But the similarities ended there. Kvitova once again battled through a three set match, her third here at New Haven, and sixth consecutive overall.  In contrast, Wozniacki looked sharp in dispatching a very dangerous Sloane Stephens in straight sets. Kvitova, the third seed here, had a scratchy start against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She served two double faults in her opening game, and managed to hold serve only once in the opening set. Her Russian opponent didn’t help the situation; Pavlyuchenkova played extremely well, striking 10 winners against only 4 unforced errors to take the opening set 6-2. Kvitova began to find her range in the second set, and waited out a rain delay to take the second set by the same 6-2 score. Kvitova suffered another bad patch early in the third set, dropping nine points in a row during one stretch. But she steadied herself, and capitalized on two Pavlyuchenkova double faults to break serve in the final game and take the match, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Wozniacki fell behind early as well, but that was due to the fine play of Stephens during the evening match. As the number four seed said after the match, “Sloane just, bam, hammered winners right and left.” Stephens served for the opening set at 5-4, but Wozniacki stayed aggressive. She mixed her solid baseline play with several forays to net to break back and capture the opening set in a tiebreak, 8-6. The second set featured a very focused Wozniacki vs. an increasingly frustrated Stephens, who managed only seven points in the Dane’s four service games. Wozniacki advances to the semifinals, 7-6(6), 6-2.

Around the Grounds: Kvitova and Wozniacki have more work to do before potentially facing off in Saturday’s final. Their semifinal opponents will be Klara Zakopalova and Simona Halep, respectively. Zakopalova came from behind in her quarterfinal vs. 2009 New Haven finalist Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-0, 6-4; while Halep eliminated Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets, 6-1 7-6(6). Both winners will be playing in their first New Haven Open semifinal… A fire alarm went off yesterday as a result of someone cooking food in the player’s lounge, which made for an eventful afternoon. “We were actually laughing because the outside was raining cats and dogs, and then was fire alarm,” Kvitova remarked, “I wasn’t cooking, so that’s good.”… Wozniacki, asked to look back over her years in New Haven: “Thank you for making me feel old.  I’m really not.” She reflected on the variety of matches she’s had to play at Yale. “I’ve played a lot of good matches, a lot of tough matches.  I’ve had rain delays.  I’ve played indoors [2009 semifinals], outdoors in the heat, night sessions.  I’ve played with some wind, with a hurricane coming in [2011 final]. You know, I played with a bit of everything.”