2014/04/16

State of Connecticut Plans to Take Over Operation of New Haven Open

newhavenopenatyale

(October 10, 2013) The State of Connecticut says it’s planning on buying the rights to the New Haven Open. The Capital Region Development Authority will vote on buying the sanction for the WTA event from the United States Tennis Association at a meeting on October 17.

The Connecticut Governor, Dannel P. Malloy announced  this on Thursday in the following release from his office:

 

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) will vote on purchasing the rights to the New Haven Open tennis tournament at a meeting scheduled for next Thursday, October 17.  By purchasing the rights, CRDA would become the owner of the tournament, which will be held August 15-23, 2014, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven.

 

“This tournament has created both economic and community development opportunities in the City of New Haven for 16 years,” said Governor Malloy.  “Economic development for our urban environments, and the state as a whole, is a fundamental component of the state’s agenda and we view the New Haven Open as another chapter in bolstering this effort.  We know that Connecticut is a great state for women’s sports, and this is another fantastic way to ensure that continues to be the case in 2014 and beyond.”

 

Negotiations over the future of the tournament, which were led on behalf of the state by the Governor’s Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian and Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes, began in earnest several months ago as another region sought to purchase the rights.

 

The rights to the women’s tournament, known as a “WTA membership,” are owned by the United States Tennis Association, which approved the sale on October 6.  Without the purchase of the membership, the tournament would likely leave Connecticut.

 

In addition to the new ownership, the tournament has received firm commitments from all five of its Cornerstone Sponsors: Aetna, American Express, First Niagara, Yale, and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

 

“We are very glad CRDA could work with the state to save the tournament.  The agency was created for and is unique in its ability to act on such opportunities,” said CRDA Executive Director Michael Freimuth.  “A tennis tournament of this caliber is envied by states and cities across the globe and many places would do whatever it takes to move it out of Connecticut.”

 

The tournament has been in New Haven for 16 years, and is a proven asset to Connecticut and the region.  An economic impact study conducted in 2008 found that it generates approximately $26 million in regional economic impact, including almost 300 jobs and $1.1 million in state tax revenue.  It has brought more than 1.5 million spectators to the city.

 

Secretary Barnes said, “The tennis tournament is part of the state’s cultural fabric, along with other sporting events, restaurants, theaters, museums and more.  If Connecticut is to remain attractive for economic development, it’s important to keep and nurture these amenities.”

 

“I’m overjoyed by this new partnership among the state, CRDA, and the New Haven Open at Yale, which generates $26 million in economic impact and markets Connecticut around the world,” said Anne Worcester, who will remain the tournament’s director.  “This is great news for women’s professional tennis and for the New Haven community, especially the thousands of youth who benefit from our year-round tennis, education and mentoring programs.”

 

“Each year, the tennis tournament provides an economic boost for many New Haven small businesses,” said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven).   “Keeping the tournament in New Haven is important to the local and regional economies.  I want to thank Governor Malloy for his leadership in preserving one of Connecticut’s premier sporting events.”

 

Share

Simona Halep Heads for New York on a Roll

By Jack Cunniff

(August 24, 2013) NEW HAVEN – For Simona Halep, it all came together in Rome. Ranked 64th at the time, she defeated three players ranked in the Top Twenty en route to the semifinals, where she lost to Serena Williams.  Her strong form continued with tournament victories in Nurnberg, s’Hertogenbosch, and Budapest. And on the eve of the U.S. Open, she has now won her fourth title of 2013, and largest of her career, taking the New Haven Open title over Petra Kvitova.

It is Halep’s first Premier title on the WTA Tour, and it will vault her into the world’s Top Twenty; she is expected to be No. 19 on Monday.  How will she feel as one of the top women’s players?  Based on an 11-4 record vs. the Top Twenty since Rome, she certainly belongs.

Four thousand fans arrived at Yale today to watch the New Haven Open final, probably expecting   the defending champion, Kvitova, to repeat. The 23-year-old is a former Wimbledon champion, a former world No. 2, and the third seed. But as the players warmed up, emcee Wayne Bryan listed the recent achievements of the unseeded Halep; she was deserving of her spot in the final.

In the first few games, Kvitova began the way she finished her semifinal match, when she crushed Klara Zakopalova 6-0, 6-1. She held serve easily, and had a 15-40 advantage in each of Halep’s first two service games. Halep successfully fought her way through her service games, then broke Kvitova’s service for a 3-2 lead. That lead to a flurry of unforced errors from Kvitova that continued for the remainder of the match.  The 21-year-old from Romania went on a streak of nine straight games, to lead 6-2, 4-0.  While Kvitova managed to salvage her final two service games, Halep sealed the title with an ace, 6-2, 6-2.

Halep becomes only the second unseeded player to win the title in New Haven; her semifinal victim, Caroline Wozniacki, was the first in 2008. She becomes the tenth different player to capture the title in New Haven since the event has been played at Yale University in 1998. Seven of the previous nine champions also have Grand Sam Singles titles on their résumé.

In Doubles action, Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie took the title in straight sets over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik, 6-3, 6-4.  Mirza and Zheng were playing in their third hard court event this summer as a duo, and had struggled in their earlier events. Those struggles continued in the first two rounds in New Haven, as the pair had to battle through 10-8 third set scores in both of those matches to stay alive. But they’ve started to gel as a team, and won in straight sets in the semifinals and final to take the trophy. As Mirza noted afterwards, “I think that you got to win, so to say, a couple ugly matches.” They played their best today against the veteran duo of Srebotnik and Medina Garrigues, who are playing together for the first time in eight years.

Share

Reversal of Fortune in New Haven

Wozniacki frustrated

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23, 2013) Yesterday,  Caroline Wozniacki was asked about her high quality play in the quarterfinals of the New Haven Open against Sloane Stephens. “You never know,” she replied, “Every match is different.  Sometimes you feel really great out there.  Sometimes it’s a struggle, but you need to find a way to win.  Sometimes it’s a little up and down.”  Sure enough, today’s semifinal action at Yale proved to be a complete reversal from the form the competitors displayed in their quarterfinals.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova entered the semifinals today having been extended to three sets in each of her last six matches, including all three matches she played in New Haven.  In fact, 12 of her last 15 matches, dating back to the Eastbourne event in June, have gone the distance.  Kvitova had played a WTA Tour-leading 30 three set  matches.  But today she cruised through her semifinal against Klara Zakopalova.  Kvitova was a model of efficiency against her friend and Czech countrywoman Zakopalova.  Despite serving three double faults in the match, Kvitova’s serve was a huge weapon; she won 23 of 26 first serve points, and never faced a break point in the match.  The crowd cheered enthusiastically for Zakopalova when she finally held serve in the twelfth game, but the end result was no longer in doubt, and Kvitova advanced 6-0, 6-1.
The evening match saw 4-time New Haven champion Caroline Wozniacki square off against Simona Halep, the 21-year-old Romanian who has won three events over the summer.  Wozniacki, so sharp in the quarterfinals against Stephens, could not recapture that form today.  She made too many errors and seemed easily flustered in the first set.  Halep, with the experience she’s gained this year, took advantage.  After Wozniacki lost the opening set 6-2, she tried to change tactics. She hit a higher ball with little pace, and mixed in some drop shots. The strategy partially worked, as it forced Halep into more errors, but Halep still had full control of the match. She broke Wozniacki at 5-5 in the second set, and held her nerve to serve out the match, 6-2, 7-5.
Halep will face Kvitova for the first time in her career in tomorrow’s Championship match.
Around the Grounds… Kvitova is hoping to defend a title successfully for the first time tomorrow. “I have one more new motivation then,” she said when reminded she’s never defended a title…. Wozniacki was asked about Halep’s sudden improvement, and spoke of how quickly intangibles like confidence can turn around someone’s game. “You know, the thing is, it can switch so quickly.  It can be one match that changes completely.  All of a sudden you feel like you’re playing great, you’re on a roll. Yeah, it’s so little, and it can do so much to your game.”… Defending doubles champion Liezel Huber and partner Nuria Llagostera Vives were eliminated in the Doubles semifinals by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik.  Huber won the 2012 New Haven Open title with Lisa Raymond; Huber/Llagostera Vives had elimanted Raymond and current partner Flavia Pennetta in the opening round. Medina Garrigues and Srebotnik, the second seeds, take on The No. 3 seeds Sania Mirza and Jie Zheng in Sunday’s championship match.
Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.
 NEW HAVEN OPEN AT YALE
New Haven, CT, USA
August 18-24, 2013
$690,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Friday, August 23, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 60 61
Simona Halep (ROU) d. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 62 75

Doubles – Semifinals
(2) Medina Garrigues/Srebotnik (ESP/SLO) d. (4) Huber/Llagostera Vives (USA/ESP) 46 75 101 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Saturday, August 24, 2013
Stadium (from 12.25hrs)
1. Doubles Final: Mirza/Zheng vs. Medina Garrigues/Srebotnik
2. Singles Final: Simona Halep vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)

Share

Dear Guillermo Vilas, My Father Thanks You and I Thank You

 

By Karen Pestaina

(AUGUST 23, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – It is rare that I write anything personal on this website. I’ve been working in media since I was in High School and as primarily a broadcast journalist, being objective in reporting is my job. I’ve worked in places from ballparks to war zones so I take being media very seriously. I see my role of that of a journalist as that of a public servant in which I report facts and not opinion. I always tell people to read as much as they can from all types of sources to form their own truths. As they say – don’t believe everything you read.

This is one day I can’t be objective. Last Saturday, I was about to make my way out the door to cover the New Haven Open. About two blocks later, my mother called me to tell me that my father had died twenty minutes earlier. My father had been ill for a long time, almost two years, I’d been expecting it. But even though I expected that the day when the horrible news would come, I was still in shock when it actually happened.

I’ve been a tennis fan all of my life and the love of the sport was instilled in me by my father – a physician who would never play golf, but tennis on Wednesdays. My father hated golf and turned on golf if he wanted to take a nap. I must confess, I have done the same thing. My love for tennis came in earnest when as a child my father took me to the Men’s Finals of the 1977 US Open which was the last one played at Forest Hills. It was my first live tennis match.

Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas upset American Jimmy Connors in four sets. The one thing I remember from that match was Vilas being picked up and carried around by fans on the court as though he were some sort of hero. I remember thinking, if this happens at the end of every match this is some exciting sport. I did not know what the significance of this match was, I just know that it was exciting to watch. Needless to say that after this match I became a huge tennis fan. My father was a huge Vilas fan before this, not so much about his tennis or his work ethic but about his personality. How many players today write books of poetry as he did.

Let me tell you about my father, all of his life he was a loyal subject of the British Empire, despite becoming a citizen of the United States a few years after I was born. I was the first American in my family. He always said to others that he spoke “the King’s English” and not the Queen’s because when he was born a King was on the throne. My father kept his British accent until the day he died despite having lived in the US for 50 years.

Being the American Brit as he was, he rarely showed any emotion. The only time I ever saw him come close to crying was when my oldest brother died as a teenager. He ruled our household like a monarchy, sometimes like a benevolent dictator, but he was always up for a debate on any subject in the book. He had an IQ higher than Marion Bartoli, but he rarely ever spoke about it. It was not his way to brag or boast – about anything. He was a firm believer in Judeo-Christian values which meant being humble.

Having grown up in a British territory my father loved three sports – Cricket, football (soccer) and tennis. He came to love baseball, basketball and football when he emigrated to the US but that never altered his love for the big three – Cricket, football and tennis.

After my first visit to the US Open, it became a family ritual to attend the US Open every year. We always would attend the first few days of the tournament in order to see all of the players. Back then in the late 70’s and early 80’s not as many people attended the early rounds, so more times than not, we would sit in the sponsor’s seats to watch some of the matches. In those days those seats were left unfilled in the early rounds of the tournament.

In those days my father would take myself, my second brother and a sister to the matches, and one thing we were forced to do was to watch at least one match which featured a British player. I remember one time that a match with a British player was taking place at the same time as a Bjorn Borg match! My sister, who was a huge Borg fan was furious, but there was nothing she could do, we all had to be together as a family – end of discussion.

One year when one of my Aunts came to visit for the US Open, we went up to the ticket booth to buy “day of” tickets. A British player that made it into the main draw (I don’t remember the name of the player) heard my Aunt speaking in her British accent and asked us if we would like his extra tickets. Of course she took them and we sat in what was the equivalent of the player friend’s box then and cheered him on, sadly he lost that day.

My father and his family were seriously tennis fanatics – I was too young to remember this but my mother told me when Arthur Ashe took out Jimmy Connors to win the Wimbledon title, my father was on the phone with one of my uncles in London for the entire match! A two-hour plus phone call from New York to London must have cost a fortune. So why did my father do this? Wimbledon was not shown live in 1975 in the US back then. He wanted to witness history in “real time,” even though it meant “watching it” with one of his brothers through the telephone.

My father often discussed his favorite players in tennis history. Above all for him was Rod Laver. My father said that if someone else can win two real grand slams, then they’ll be my favorite player. His second favorite male player or as he would have said, his favorite player of the “modern age,” was Pete Sampras. My father loved the serve and volleyers. In fact although he enjoyed watching Roger Federer play, he felt that the Swiss should come into net more. He also would speak so enthusiastically about Pancho Gonzalez, how when he played it was though he was “fighting to save his life.”

As for the women, my father admired Althea Gibson for her spirit and drive in a world which did not want to accept a black woman playing tennis. He also enjoyed watching Billie Jean King and Chris Evert and had a crush on Evonne Goolagong. Serena Williams may have the most major championships in her family, but Venus won my father’s heart. My Dad used to tell me that she reminded him of Althea Gibson and wished that Venus would come to net as much as Gibson did.

As Wimbledon has many traditions, we had a Wimbledon tradition in our household. Our family would all sit and watch the men’s final on TV. When I was little, the men’s final took place on a Saturday. Due to the power of television contracts over the years, the final was switched to Sunday. With the Sunday men’s finals this would mean that we would have to miss church – and we would never miss church. ONLY for the Wimbledon men’s final would we ever miss church on Sunday.

As we were blessed to have a major in our backyard, the US Open, it meant no family events could be planned during those two weekends within the tournament. Our family friends and extended family knew that none of us would be attending barbeques or parties if it was scheduled during the US Open.

As much as my father loved the game, he did not want it to become anyone’s profession – especially his children’s. At one point I was a decent player as a child and played a few tournaments, not that I wanted to become a pro someday. This was not what my dad wanted. He had higher aspirations for his children and that was the end of my days of competition as a junior. I forgave my father about this years later when I came to understand why he was that way.

Since the late 70’s with the exception of one year when I was beginning graduate school, I’ve attended the US Open. Needless to say I’ve kept up with news of Guillermo Vilas through the years and had the chance to actually meet him and speak with him about 10 years ago at the US Open. When I told my father about it, he was absolutely thrilled.

Although he is old enough to be my father, I’ve had a crush on him ever since I saw him win the US Open. Just ask my husband – it must drive him crazy when I talk about the man who should have been No. 1 in 1977, but he never lets on.

Today when I think of Vilas I think about my  happy childhood and my father teaching me to love the game of tennis. Indirectly I have Vilas to thank for my love of this sport.

I have taught that love of tennis that my father taught me to both my husband and my son and they both are as almost obsessed with the sport as I am. Now my husband and I fight over which one of us will attend the next Davis Cup tie as our son begs us to take him with us.

I guess it is fitting that my father should pass on during the week before the US Open as it was “our time” of year.

As my father had Alzheimer’s for almost the past two years, he “missed” Andy Murray win the Olympic Gold medal for singles, the US Open and more importantly Wimbledon. Despite now being an American, my father, a former British subject who never lost his “Britishness,” would have been so proud of him.

During my father’s wake, I spent hours talking to tennis-obsessed relatives about today’s game. My uncles are also major Venus Williams fans and don’t want to see her retire. Despite my dad’s body in full view being there in his coffin right in front of the room of the funeral home, I held back my emotions like the daughter of a good citizen of the British Empire – stiff upper lip and all that.

During the funeral on Friday, I began to give my testimonial about my dad. My dad was so proud of being able to live his dream of becoming a doctor that I had to speak about his pure love and joy of his profession. He knew he wanted to be a doctor since he was eight years old. It was then that my tears finally flowed for my father. He taught me and my siblings to stand on our own, to fight for what we want in this world, and the importance of social responsibility, regardless of our professions.

How fitting that after the funeral on Friday, my father was buried in a cemetery less than a mile from where I learned to play tennis.

Incidentally, the day that my father died last weekend was Guillermo Vilas’ birthday. My tweet wishing Vilas a happy birthday on the Tennis Panorama News’ twitter account came at the exact time my father was declared dead at 5:37 a.m. Eastern Time.

 

A tennis journalist friend relayed this to me after he heard about my dad’s passing on Vilas’ birthday: “….truly one of those coincidences that leads us to contemplate providence.”

As I prepare to cover the US Open as media next week, I do so with a heavy heart, but I never would have been here in the first place if it were not for love of the game my Dad taught me and of course Guillermo Vilas.

 

(I want to personally thank those who ran the site, the twitter and covered tournaments and events for me in my absence, while I had to deal with my father’s passing – Josh Meiseles, Vito Ellison, Jack Cunniff and especially Junior Williams.)

Share

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.”
Share

New Haven Open – Tuesday Results, Wednesday Schedule

 

NEW HAVEN
OPEN AT YALE
New Haven, CT, USA
August 18-24,
2013
$690,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Tuesday, August
20, 2013
Singles – Second
Round
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. (2) Angelique Kerber (GER) 62
64
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (7) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 75 63
Klara
Zakopalova (CZE) d. (Q) Monica Puig (PUR) 64 61

Singles – First
Round
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (LL) Annika Beck (GER) 46 63
63

Doubles – First Round
Soler-Espinosa/Suárez Navarro
(ESP/ESP) d. (1) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) 64 63
(4) Huber/Llagostera Vives
(USA/ESP) d. Pennetta/Raymond (ITA/USA) 64 75
Marosi/Moulton-Levy (HUN/USA)
d. Dulgheru/Shvedova (ROU/KAZ) 76(6) 63
Black/King (ZIM/USA) d. (WC)
Hantuchova/Hingis (SVK/SUI) 63 61

Order Of Play – Wednesday, August 21,
2013
Stadium (from 13.00hrs)
1.
Sara Errani vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Karin
Knapp
3. Alison Riske vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Julia Goerges vs.
Sloane Stephens (NB 19.00hrs)
5. Mirza/Zheng vs.
Marosi/Moulton-Levy

Grandstand (from 12.00hrs)
1. Simona Halep
vs. Carla Suárez Navarro
2. Hradecka/Zakopalova vs. Medina
Garrigues/Srebotnik
3. Soler-Espinosa/Suárez Navarro vs. Aoyama/Klepac (NB
14.30hrs; after suitable rest)

Share

New Haven Open Preview

wick02

By Jack Cunniff

(August 18, 2013) NEW HAVEN – A quick look at the leading contenders for the 2013 New Haven Open title, by Jack Cunniiff. Follow Jack on twitter (@jrcunniff) for tennis facts and trivia.

 

The New Haven Open at Yale had been owned by Caroline Wozniacki, as she swept to four straight titles in 2008-2011.  But a bad knee, and a tough opponent in Maria Kirilenko ended Wozniacki’s stretch of 20 straight matches won at New Haven in the 2012 semifinals.  Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, swept in last year to take the title in a straight set win over Kirilenko.

 

For the 2013 edition, both players have returned, and are looking to add to their New Haven success.  Wozniacki has had a difficult year by her standards, reaching only one final, in Indian Wells, where she lost to Maria Sharapova. In April she suffered a five match losing streak on clay.  But finally, in Cincinnati, the Dane seemed to get her groove back, defeating Kvitova in the third round, before losing a close battle to world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals.

 

Kvitova has also struggled recently, as she hasn’t passed the quarterfinals in an event since April.  She did score a victory over the 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in Toronto, so there are signs of life.  Compared to Kvitova’s U.S. Open Series success last summer, her recent play is a letdown.

 

Sara Errani, the 5’4″ Italian who reached the French Open finals last year, has surprised many by maintaining her Top Ten form in 2013.  She comes into New Haven as the top seed for the event, on the strength of her No. 6 ranking.  Semifinal results at the French Open, Madrid, and Rome, and a finals appearance in Palermo make her one of the more successful players in recent months, but all those results came on European clay.  The New Haven hard courts may prove a different challenge.

 

Sloane Stephens, the number two ranked American woman made a name for herself in 2013 by defeating Serena Williams at the Australian Open.  Last week, Stephens had her second biggest career win, eliminating Maria Sharapova from Cincinnati.  Seeded sixth in New Haven, Stephens is looking for success on U.S. soil, which has eluded her all season; her record in U.S. events stands at 3-6.

 

The No. 2 seed in the New Haven draw is Angelique Kerber. The German has had great success on U.S. hard courts in the past (2011 U.S. Open semifinalist, 2012 Cincinnati runner-up), but has a modest 4-3 record on hard courts this summer. Wozniacki recommended that Kerber make her first appearance in New Haven; perhaps she provided a few tips on how to succeed on these courts.

 

Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki was the first player to advance in New Haven, defeating Kristina Mladenovic in Sunday’s only first round match.  Lisicki, seeded eighth, has been short on match play after Wimbledon.  A wrist injury kept her out after Wimbledon, and she played only one hard court match, an opening round loss to Jelena Jankovic in Cincinnati.  If she can maintain her opening round New Haven form, Lisicki will be difficult to beat.

 

Other players vying for the New Haven title are Roberta Vinci, the world’s No. 1 doubles player along with Errani; Dominika Cibulkova, winner of the Stanford title over Agnieszka Radwanska; and Sorana Cirstea, the runner-up to Serena Williams in Toronto two weeks ago.

 

Around The Grounds

Much has been made recently of the diminishing number of teenaged players in Women’s tennis, but the final round of New Haven Qualifying featured two matches with both competitors in their teens.  Monica Puig, of Puerto Rico played fellow 19-year-old Caroline Garcia of France, while Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Slovakian Anna Schmiedlova, both 18, faced off.  Puig and Schmiedlova both won today, and Svitolina advanced as a lucky loser with the withdrawal of Magdalena Rybarikova with a lower back injury…

 

American Alison Riske continued her strong form of the summer with a straight set win over Yanina Wickmayer, putting Riske into the main draw, but the match had  some drama. With Riske serving 2-1 in the second set, a groudstroke exchange featured a Riske shot called long on the baseline which was overruled by the chair umpire. The umpire awarded the point to Riske, assessing that that Wickmayer couldn’t reach the ball, but Wickmayer disagreed. The Belgian refused to continue play until the referee was called to the court. She pleaded her case, but to no avail, and was out of sorts for the remainder of the match….

 

Stephanie Voegele advanced through qualifying when her opponent Yaroslava Shvedova retired with a forearm injury. Shvedova was playing her first event since Wimbledon as she struggles with the injury…

Share

Qualified Success in New Haven

garcia 08.17.2013

Caroline Garcia

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.

Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.

NEW HAVEN OPEN AT YALE PRESENTED BY FIRST NIAGARA – NEW HAVEN, USA
$ 690,000.00
AUGUST 16 – AUGUST 24, 2013

RESULTS - AUGUST 17, 2013

Women’s
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

USONP
Men’s
Singles
Championship – Quarterfinals

[1] J Dadamo (USA) d D Gooch (RSA) 62 64
M Pecotic (CRO) d [3] P Daciek (USA) 63 62
[4] C Boyce (USA) d E Orkin (USA) 63 62
T Larson (USA) d A Ball (USA) 62 63

USONP
Women’s
Singles
Championship – Quarterfinals

[1] M Hibi (JPN) d M Okruashvili (GEO) 62 61
[2] N Melichar (USA) d K Mckenna (USA) 64 63
L Graff (USA) d [3] N Kukharchuk (RUS) 67(3) 64 61
[4] 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
[7] S Lisicki (GER) vs K Mladenovic (FRA) – WTA
N Grandin (RSA) / D Jurak (CRO) vs [2] 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 [2] N Melichar (USA) – USONP
[4] C Boyce (USA) vs M Pecotic (CRO) – USONP
[1] M Hibi (JPN) vs [4] P Porter (USA) – USONP
[1] J Dadamo (USA) vs T Larson (USA) – USONP

Share

Off-Court Events for Fans at New Haven Open

newhavenopenatyale

NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 31, 2013 – The New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 16-24, 2013 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, will once again host a variety of off-court events designed to elevate the fan experience at the 2013 tournament.

Fans can get involved with these off-court opportunities starting today with a chance to win a trip to Curtain Bluff resort in Antigua. Simply visit the Lux Bond & Green or vineyard vines stores in Westport, Connecticut before August 8 at 5:00 p.m. and enter to win the “Grand Prize”, an all-inclusive trip to Curtain Bluff resort, and one of 16 “First Prizes,” a pair of box seat tickets to the 2013 New Haven Open, all courtesy of the Antigua-Barbuda Office of Tourism and the New Haven Open.

A few of the brand new offerings on-site at this year’s New Haven Open are designed to satiate the thirst of guests 21 and over. The SVEDKA Vodka Lounge will offer the “SVEDKA Smash,” the official drink of the New Haven Open, among many other signature concoctions. Visitors will even have the opportunity to vote on their favorite SVEDKA vodkas – bringing an interactive element to the imbibing experience. Additionally, the Ooh La La Wine Bar will provide a great escape for fans looking to wind down between matches with a glass of California’s most stylish wine. Goose Island is the official beer of the tournament, for those fans partial to brew.

For younger guests, the annual Aetna Kids Day is the perfect way to kick off a week of great tennis. During the first session of the New Haven Open on Sunday, August 18, kids can join WTA professionals for a fun-filled day of tennis clinics, autographs and prizes. Tickets start at just $12 and include admission to all New Haven Open matches on that day as well.

On Monday night, the tournament will honor America’s Heroes by inviting active duty military personnel, veterans and their families to a tennis clinic at the Aetna FitZone at 5:30 p.m. and a ceremony honoring these heroes after the first match of the night session. All active duty military personnel and veterans will receive one free ticket with the purchase of another full-price ticket for this Military & Hero Appreciation Night presented by Budweiser.

A Wednesday night feast will give fans the opportunity to refuel for the evening session with Comfort Food and Cocktails presented by SVEDKA Vodka and hosted by celebrity chef and cookbook author Jacques Pepin. The event will take place in the Courtside Club overlooking Stadium Court and will sample the expert skills of New Haven’s most exciting chefs and mixologists as they put their own spin on comfort food & cocktails. A popular debut event at this year’s New Haven Open, tickets are already sold out.

Beginning on Thursday, August 22, fans will have the opportunity to take photos where the coverage of the New Haven Open is hosted – the ESPN Desk. Guests can sit where tennis pros and TV personalities break down the on-court action and host the national broadcast.

In order to look great for the cameras, guests can stop by the Pro Shop and pick up threads from Solfire, the new apparel sponsor of the New Haven Open. Volunteers, ballkids, tournament staff and officials will be wearing Solfire outfits, as well, in order to perform at the highest level and look their best during the tournament.

A complete schedule of events is listed below. For more information on the 2013 tournament, volunteer opportunities and to secure tickets, log on to www.newhavenopen.com or call the New Haven Open Box Office at 855-464-8366. Also, make sure to join the New Haven Open on Facebook & Twitter for tournament updates, contests and more.

This year, fans will be closer to the action than ever before, as the New Haven Open consolidates all seating into the Box Ring of the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. This enhanced proximity to the players and on-court action as well as increased in-stadium entertainment is available starting at just $24.

Sunday, August 18

- Aetna Kids Day – (Session 1) 10:00 a.m. – Join WTA pros for a fun-filled day of tennis clinics, giveaways and autograph sessions. Tickets start at just $12 (all day activities/matches included). First 1,000 kids receive an Aetna goody bag!

Monday, August 19

- USPTA Free Lesson – (Session 2) 1:00 p.m. – USPTA New England pros will conduct a three-hour on-going “Free” group lesson for the New Haven Open public. Pros to instruct, guide, and encourage participants during the lesson

- Budweiser presents Military & Hero Appreciation Night – (Session 3) – Active duty military and veterans receive one free ticket with every full price ticket purchased and can participate in a tennis clinic in the Aetna FitZone. A special on-court ceremony will recognize these heroes prior to the first night match on Stadium Court.

- USTA Member Appreciation Day/Night – (Sessions 4 & 5) – USTA Members receive special ticket savings and VIP Hospitality in the Courtside Club overlooking Stadium Court with appearances by WTA pros and a complimentary gift from 11:00am-3:00pm. Special ticket savings also applies for the evening session.

Tuesday, August 20

- New Haven Register Night – (Session 5) – First 1,000 fans receive a special giveaway

- First Niagara Girl Scout Night – (Session 5) 5:30 p.m. – All Girl Scouts are invited to enjoy a private Q&A session with a WTA pro! Contact your troop leader for more information. Advance ticket purchase only.

Wednesday, August 21

- Comfort Food and Cocktails presented by SVEDKA Vodka – (Session 7) 5:00-7:30 p.m. – Satisfy your culinary and libation cravings in the Courtside Club, overlooking Stadium Court and sample the expert skills of New Haven’s most exciting chefs as they put their own spin on comfort food. From sweet to savory, foodies will enjoy favorites reimagined by: Zinc, Ibiza, Heirloom, Union League Cafe, Caseus, Claire’s Corner Copia, Basta Trattoria, John Davenport’s and L’Orcio. Cocktails by 116 Crown and Ordinary. Tickets are $125 and include a Courtside Box Seat tickets. SOLD OUT!

Thursday, August 22

- Solfire Day – (Session 8) – Solfire, official apparel sponsor of the 2013 New Haven Open, will cool you off as quarterfinal action heats up by offering the first 1,000 fans a free paddle fan!

- Aetna Night – (Session 9) – First 1,000 fans receive an Aetna cinch sack.

Friday, August 23

- Yale-New Haven Hospital Night – (Session 11) – First 1,000 fans receive a special gift.

Saturday, August 24

- First Niagara Day – (Session 12) – Fans for fans! Cheer on a new champion with a free hand fan at the gate, courtesy of First Niagara!

Weeklong Activities:

- Aetna FitZone – What’s your healthy? Get active, stay fit and win prizes at interactive fitness stations for fans of all ages.

- SVEDKA Vodka Lounge – Fans can relax between matches and choose from a tremendous selection of specialty drinks mixed with SVEDKA vodka. Enjoy the hit concoction, the “SVEDKA Smash” or try the two newest flavors, Orange Cream Pop and Strawberry Colada. Which one will be your favorite?

- Ooh La La Wine Bar – The Ooh La La Wine Bar will provide a great escape for fans looking to wind down between matches with a glass of California’s most stylish wine. High-quality, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, and Rosé are enhanced with the perfect touch of carbonation to add a mouthwatering zing. Sophisticated & refreshing, it’s wine’s new style!

- US Open National Playoff Championships – The US Open National Playoff Championships is the culmination of 13 men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles sectional events across the United States. Singles winners earn a spot in the US Open qualifying while mixed doubles winners earn a spot in the US Open main draw.

- Sponsor Booth Giveaways – Stop by for a chance to win prizes, including trips and tickets.

- Food Court – Enjoy a wide variety of options, featuring the Caseus Grilled Cheese Truck La Petite France Crepe Truck, burgers, hot dogs, salads, seafood, salads and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

- Player Autograph Sessions – Get up close and personal with your favorite WTA stars! Check for daily updates in the drawsheet or at Guest Services for the schedule of upcoming player autograph sessions.

- Afternoon Chats and Nightly Music – Talks and tunes! Check out the entertainment stage for interviews with WTA players and special guests, followed by nightly live music.

- Shuttle to and from Downtown New Haven – Leave the car behind and shop, dine, and explore New Haven by riding the FREE shuttle, courtesy of the City of New Haven. The Shuttle also serves the Tennis Center every hour! Visit the on-site INFO New Haven Booth for more information.

- Mayor’s Passport to Downtown Dining – Join the pros and continue the party in downtown New Haven. Dine at one of more than twenty participating restaurants in the Mayor’s Passport to Downtown Dining.

Share

Martina Hingis to Play Doubles at New Haven Open

2012 World Team Tennis

(July 18, 2013) NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Former No. 1 and recent inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Martina Hingis will compete in the doubles event at the 2013 New Haven Open at Yale a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 16-24, 2013 at the Connecticut Tennis Center.

 

In August, the 32-year-old Hingis will make her second career appearance at the New Haven Open, where she was a singles quarterfinalist in 2002. This year will mark her doubles debut in New Haven, where she will be featured alongside a strong singles lineup including five of the WTA top 10 and two Wimbledon Champions in Marion Bartoli and Petra Kvitova.

 

“I am looking forward to coming back to the New Haven Open to compete in doubles,” said Hingis. “I feel in good shape at the moment after playing World Team Tennis. My competitive spirit is still very much alive and I love being out on court.”

 

 

“Adding newly minted Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Hingis to the New Haven Open at Yale doubles field is fantastic news, and will complement a very strong singles field featuring five of the top 10 players in the world,” said Worcester. “I can remember when Lindsay Davenport returned to play doubles in New Haven after she’d stepped away from the tour when her first child was born. Our fans came out in droves to support her, and I know they will do the same for Martina.”

Share