By Jack Cunniff
(August 22, 2014) NEW HAVEN – The Connecticut Open has a history of players repeating as finalists, and there’s another name to add to the list. Petra Kvitova, the second seed, defeated Sam Stosur in the semifinals and advanced to her third consecutive final in New Haven. She follows the trend set by Venus Williams (four straight finals between 1999-2002), Lindsay Davenport (five appearances in six finals between 2001-2006), and Caroline Wozniacki (four straight finals between 2008 – 2011)
Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, easily dispatched the 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur, 6-3, 6-1. Kvitova’s win in the semifinals was reminiscent of her Wimbledon final, where she cruised past Genie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0. Everything was working for Kvitova, most notably her serve. She served 11 aces in eight services games. Stosur, who had blasted 22 aces in her first three matches of the Connecticut Open, managed none against the Kvitova return.
Kvitova is at her best when she’s in her comfort zone, and New Haven provides that. With much of the tennis world’s focus on the U.S. Open preparations 90 minutes away in New York, New Haven offers a more laid back atmosphere. Kvitova has called New Haven “the calm before the storm,” and on her Twitter account this past week, the 24-year-old Czech posted that it “feels like being home when I come back here and play on this court”, and asked “Can I play in New Haven every week?” In addition to her love of this event, Kvitova has a very successful 12-4 record in tour finals. That will make things tough for her opponent in the Connecticut Open final, Magdalena Rybarikova.
Rybarikova, from Slovakia, earned her way to the final by outwitting Camila Giorgi. Giorgi had used aggressive hitting to power through two higher ranked opponents, Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza, earlier in the week. Rybarikova changed tactics. She mixed the pace and angles of her shots, and served and volleyed on key points, refusing to get into a hitting contest. The strategy kept Giorgi off balance, and drew multiple errors from the Italian. As Rybarikova noted afterwards, Giorgi “has A plan but no B plan”, which allowed Rybarikova to stay in control.
The final on Saturday pits two good friends and former doubles partners against each other. Kvitova leads the head-to-head 4-1, with Rybarikova winning their most recent match, an ITF final in Prague, May 2011. That final was in Kvitova’s home country; this one will be in her home away from home.
CONNECTICUT OPEN PRESENTED BY UNITED TECHNOLOGIES – NEW HAVEN, USA
17-23 AUGUST 2014
RESULTS – AUGUST 22, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
 P Kvitova (CZE) d [WC] S Stosur (AUS) 63 61
M Rybarikova (SVK) d C Giorgi (ITA) 62 64
Doubles – Semifinals
M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) d C Garcia (FRA) / M Niculescu (ROU) 62 57 11-9
A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d D Jurak (CRO) / M Moulton-Levy (USA) 76(3) 46 10-8
US Open National Playoffs
Mixed Doubles Championship – Semifinals
J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) d N Melichar (USA) / P Smith (USA) 57 60 10-8
E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA) d B Bohrnstedt (USA) / M Rose (USA) 62 36 12-10
ORDER OF PLAY - SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 2014
STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs A Klepac (SLO) / S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA SINGLES FINAL – M Rybarikova (SVK) vs  P Kvitova (CZE)
GRANDSTAND start 1:30 pm
USONP MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP – J Cako (USA) / J Kielbowicz (USA) vs E Shibahara (USA) / S Shibahara (USA)