Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open
From world-class tennis to activities around the grounds, the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies was one to remember. Here, we look back at the moments that won’t soon be forgotten.
Kvitova Wins Again
Second seed and World No. 4 Petra Kvitova did not drop a set at the 2014 Connecticut Open, rolling to her second title in the past three years in New Haven. The Czech was especially dominant in deciding sets, defeating her second round through semifinals opponents 6-1 in the second frame. The two-time Wimbledon Champion now holds a 12-2 overall record at the Connecticut Open and becomes only third player to win multiple titles in New Haven, along with four-time winners Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.
Twice as Nice
Playing together for just the second time in their careers, Andreja Klepac and Silvia Soler-Espinosa took down Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja to claim the doubles title. The match-up had its fair-share of intrigue, with Klepac and Soler-Espinosa rallying in the first set before displaying similar efforts in the decisive tiebreak. Soler-Espinosa claimed her first WTA title, while Klepac earned her seventh
What a Match!
Connecticut Open fans got their money’s worth in a three-hour long barnburner between Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and Germany’s Andrea Petkovic. Petkovic won a rather pedestrian first set 6-4, but the normalcy would cease from there, as each corresponding frame would result in thrilling tiebreaks. This match-up could have gone either way, but the Belgian would go on to win the marathon, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6), and advance to the quarterfinals.
Second Round Shakeup
The upsets began early and often at the 2014 Connecticut Open, highlighted by a wacky second round that sent four seeded players home early. Eventual runner-up Rybarikova pulled off the stunner of the tournament, knocking off Defending Champion and top-seed Simona Halep 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Hard-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi bounced four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2, and Sam Stosur had her way with No. 3 seed Genie Bouchard 6-2, 6-2. Rising American Alison Riske also got in on the action, erasing six-seed Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 7-6(3).
Riske is Rising
Speaking of Riske, the American put on quite a show in New Haven and solidified herself as a fan favorite at the 2014 Connecticut Open. The 24-year-old Pittsburgh native made her first quarterfinal appearance since January in Hobart and battled runner-up Rybarikova in a tough three-set match-up. She was the first American into the quarterfinals here since 2006, when Lindsay Davenport made it that far.
Guys Night Out
The men took center stage on Wednesday and Thursday night, as Fairfield native and two-time Connecticut Open Champion James Blake invited former World No. 1’s Jim Courier and Andy Roddick to New Haven for the Men’s Legends Event. Some booming forehands and plenty of laughs were on display on Stadium Court, as Blake took on Courier on Wednesday followed by a tilt against longtime friend Roddick on Thursday.
A Word from our Sponsors
With 60 sponsors, half of which are headquartered in Connecticut and 20 newly-added partnerships for this year, sponsorship was surely on the rise at the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies. The list of new sponsors based in Connecticut was led by three Fortune 500 companies; United Technologies (Lead sponsor, Hartford), Frontier Communications (Platinum, Stamford), and Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Hospitality sponsor, Stamford). Aetna, a Cornerstone since 2011, was the fourth Fortune 500 company headquartered in Connecticut to sponsor the tournament. For more info about Connecticut Open Sponsorships, click HERE.
What Happens in Connecticut… Stays in Connecticut
The State of Connecticut takes great pride in the Connecticut Open, so it was no surprise that the state stepped-in when a potential move to North Carolina threatened the annual New Haven festivity. We chatted with Gov. Dannel Malloy to hear his thoughts on the tournament, and why it belongs in the great State of Connecticut. Watch the Video:
Enjoying the Scenery
Fans looking for a break in the action could find plenty of options in the plaza, featuring several eateries, live-music and sponsor booths. Patrons flocked to Aaron May’s Lobster Shack for a Connecticut-style lobster roll, ordered baked potatoes with all the trimmings at Spuds Your Way, and dunked a classic-style grilled cheese in heirloom tomato gazpacho at Caseus Cheese Truck. Combined with toe-tapping musical performances on the band stage and fun-filled activities at several sponsor booths, the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies provided a truly world-class atmosphere in a small-town setting.
That was ‘Cray’
Are these really words?! That was the general response of the WTA stars when the tournament video team took them through what ended up being a gut-busting series of questions over the new words added to the online version of the Oxford Dictionary. “Amazeballs,” “binge-watch” and “throwing shade” all made the cut. Yes, you read those right.
Watch to see the hilarious reactions of Wozniacki, Bouchard, Kvitova, Petkovic and Coco Vandeweghe:
Making a Big Splash
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the hot rage around the world, and when tournament director Anne Worcester was nominated to participate, she asked a few Connecticut Open stars to help her. The result was a video that went viral around the web (over 103,000 views at this point), as Wozniacki, Kvitova and Halep dumped ice water on Worcester (and Kvitova got a surprise, too). Watch the video:
Tweets are Out:
The Connecticut Open provided plenty of action both on and off the court, and WTA stars were eager to share their experiences from the grounds. See some of our favorites below:
A champion, loud and proud:
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) August 23, 2014
@connecticutopen Thank you soo much for another wonderful year. You all set the standard high! Already miss yall!
— Alison Riske (@Riske4rewards) August 22, 2014
Petko’s Ice Bucket Effort:
— Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) August 19, 2014
Something for Everyone
Tournament attendance was up this year for the first time since 2005-06, with 47,140 fans pouring through the gates compared with 45,796 a year ago. In addition to world-class tennis, the event featured plenty of off-court activities and attractions around the grounds. From the New Haven Health System Spin Bike to Military Appreciation Night to the various food trucks, the 2014 edition had plenty to offer.
Capturing the Moment
Plenty of fantastic photos were taken at the 2014 Connecticut Open and staff photographer Billie Weiss was there to capture the action. See some of our favorites on our Facebook page.
Kvitova played as the second seed and did not drop a set in both of her title runs. She was especially dominant in decisive sets at this year’s event, dropping only five games combined.
Quote Me on That
Rybarikova on her lucky toy duck… “Because my Mom, she was in my bag. She didn’t know it was my lucky duck. She is like, it’s so dirty. I don’t know where she put it actually. I have to find my lucky duck.”
Stosur on her biceps and arm-wrestling competitions… “It hasn’t happened so far,” said Stosur in regards to a WTA arm-wrestling competition. “But, Francesca Schiavone may be my darkhorse to win.”
Riske on her nicknames… “Well, I get “Risky Business” all the time, or “it’s a Riske Business” because there are three of us Riske girls that played tennis growing up. Also, “Riske It for a Biscuit.” Shelby Rogers actually coined that one. [Laughter.] It basically means you go for it and if you make it, you get a reward.
Francesca Schiavone on meeting her tennis idols… ” I was so nervous, excited and shaking. When you’re 17 or 18 years old and see someone like that, it’s a great surprise and a dream come true.”
See you all August 21-29, 2015!