The Best Moments of the 2014 Connecticut Open

Kvitova14

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 the third player to win multiple titles in New Haven, along with four-time winners Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.

Blake_Roddick

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.

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 6 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2014 SAMANTHA STOSUR vs. EUGENIE BOUCHARD

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). Long-time Cornerstone sponsors Yale University, Yale New Haven Hospital, Aetna, American Express and First Niagara continued their strong commitment to the tournament. For more info about Connecticut Open Sponsorships, click HERE.

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 5 TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2014 GROUNDS

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, dined on Venezuelan flair at Valencia Luncheria, 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 Connecticut stage and fun-filled activities at many sponsor booths, the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies provided a truly world-class atmosphere in a small-town setting.

Cray

Social Splash
From Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep dumping ice cold water on tournament director Anne Worcester for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to players answering a series questions about the new words added to the online version of the Oxford Dictionary, social media videos generated more than 115,000 views, and interaction with fans was at an all-time high. Check out all our videos HERE.

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 3 SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 2014 WTA ALL ACCESS HOUR

Something for Everyone
Tournament attendance was up this year for the first time since 2005 with more than 47,140 fans pouring through the gates. In addition to world-class tennis, the event featured plenty of off-court activities and philanthropic efforts around the grounds, such as the star-spangled Military Appreciation Night presented by United Technologies; the Closer to Free Spin Bike Ride which generated $25,000 for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven; and the Emirates Returns Program which capped off summer-long inner city youth tennis and education programs.

See you all August 21-29, 2015!

Czech Mate: Kvitova Wins Second Connecticut Open Title

Kvitova12
Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

Petra Kvitova’s path to her second title at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies was much like her first: It was dominant.

The Czech world No. 4 did not relinquish a set en route to the championship, defeating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday to cap off another impressive week in New Haven and win her second Connecticut Open title in the last three years.

“I’m glad for that, for sure,” said Kvitova in regards to not dropping a set. “Last year I play a lot of three-setters, not only here. I’m just glad that I did it without dropping any sets. I’m just very impressed about that, of course.”

MORE: Final Singles Draw | Save the Date: August 21-29, 2015

The two-time Wimbledon Champion becomes the third player to win multiple titles in New Haven, along with four-time victors Venus Williams (1999-2002) and Caroline Wozniacki (2008-2011).

Kvitova was broken twice in the first set, but returned the favor against the Slovak three times to edge Rybarikova in the first. Rybarikova kept the set respectable, closing in at 5-4 after saving two set points at 2-5 down and breaking Kvitova. But Kvitova was able to break the Slovak back for the set, winning it 6-4.

In the second set Kvitova put her foot on the gas, as she had for much of the week, playing all-business tennis and winning it 6-2, closing out the match in 69 minutes. Kvitova now moves her record here to 12-2 overall. She secures her No. 4 world ranking moving into the US Open, where she has an outside shot at claiming the world’s No. 1 ranking should she win the event (pending other players’ results, as well).

“I know last two years I had a great run here, but I didn’t have great results in US Open, said Kvitova. “Still, I mean, I hopefully can make it a little bit better.”

Rybarikova was the lowest-ranked finalist in New Haven history, the world No. 68 now bouncing inside the Top 50. She has been as high as No. 31 in the world.

For me it’s great, I’m very happy, said Rybarikova about her week. “I hope I’m going to have some more confidence after this.”

Twice as Nice: Klepac, Soler-Espinosa Win Doubles Title

Doubles Winners

Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

Andreja Klepac and Silvia Soler-Espinosa defeated Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra-Santonja 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 on Saturday to claim the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies doubles Title.

MORE: Doubles Draw | Doubles Final Preview

It was a win that was twice as nice for Klepac/Soler-Espinosa: they were playing together for just the second time in their careers having debuted as a pair a week ago in Cincinnati.

“For me, it was so exciting the win the first title, said Soler-Espinosa. “It was the third final for me this year: one in singles, one doubles. To win this tournament, you know, this is an amazing tournament. With her, we had such a great week, very good week together. So, I’m so happy.”

Down 5-3 in the first set, Klepac/Soler-Espinosa rattled off four straight games to claim the first frame 7-5. In the second set, Erakovic/Parra-Santonja would battle back. Serving at 5-4, but down 0-30, the duo would win the next four points to force a match tie-break.

The tie-break provided plenty of intrigue, as Klepac and Soler-Espinosa found themselves down 5-7 at the second change of ends. However, they would go on to win the next five points, securing the title on a decisive error from Erakovic. It was the first WTA crown of any kind for Soler-Espinosa and the 7th of Klepac’s career (all at the ITF level).

“Yeah, these matches you never know,” said Klepac. “In tiebreak you can play two, three balls good, then the other players play five balls good. But you still need to be all the time focused and fight for every ball.”

Photo: This Is What They Play for Today

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 1.44.06 PM

The singles final of the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies will begin at 3pm today on Stadium Court. What are they playing for? This trophy among other things. The winner will take home $120,000USD as well as 470 WTA ranking points. Petra Kvitova is slated to stay at No. 4 in the world regardless of her result while Magdalena Rybarikova – the lowest-ranked finalist ever here in New Haven at No. 68 – will climb back into the Top 50 with a loss and could go into the Top 40 with a win (career high: No. 31).

MORE: Previewing the Final | Order of Play | Tickets

These two are old friends: They met playing in the final of an ITF event in 2007 in Prague when they were both teenagers. “From that time we are friends, and we are pretty close friends,” Kvitova said in press Friday night. “It’s going to be difficult. It’s a long time [since] we played each other in a match. We practice [together] sometimes, but not really in the past few months.”

The final will be televised in the U.S. on ESPN2 and livestreamed internationally (regional blockouts depending) on TennisTV.com. (Above photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open)

Final Preview: Cinderella Stories Rule Doubles Draw

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 8 FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014 CAROLINE GARCIA AND MONICA NICULESCU vs. MARINA ERAKOVIC AND ARANTXA PARRA SANTONJA

Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

The doubles draw has been filled with upsets at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies this year, with two unseeded teams advancing to Saturday’s final.

Andreja Klepac and Silvia Soler-Espinosa won through a three-set match on Friday afternoon before Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja (pictured above) did the same in the evening session. The doubles final will take place inside Stadium Court at 12:30pm on Saturday.

MORE: Updated Doubles Draws | Order of Play

Klepac and Soler-Espinosa are playing together for just the second time in their careers having first teamed up just last week in Cincinnati. There, they lost in the first round of play.

“This is a big result for us, especially since this is only the second time that we’ve played together,” Klepac said after their semifinal win over Darija Jurak and Megan Moulton-Levy, where they won in a match tie-break. “I think it was a tough match. In the second set we had so many chances, but at the end it was our goal to stay focused and stay aggressive.”

They’ll have to do the same against Erakovic/Parra Santonja. Klepac/Soler-Espinosa upset the No. 2 seeds in the first round, beating Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets before needing a third-set match tie-break to come through their last two matches.

Erakovic/Parra Santonja have won all three of their matches in three sets this week. They recently won a title together on grass in The Netherlands (their first and only as a pair) and were quarterfinalists at the French Open.

Preview: Kvitova Looks for Second Title Here in Three Years

finals

By Stephen Villatoro (Photos by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open)

Playing in the final at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies has become routine for Petra Kvitova, who advanced to her third final in three years after defeating Sam Stosur on Friday.

Joining the 2012 champion is a newcomer to this sorority, as Magdalena Rybarikova is playing in the first Premier-level WTA final of her career, taking down Camila Giorgi for the right to play in Saturday’s finale.

MORE: Updated Draws | Saturday’s Schedule | Ticket Information

Their paths to the finals have been vastly different, but both players have played phenomenal tennis in New Haven this week.

Petra’s Path of Destruction
Kvitova has not dropped a single set at the Connecticut Open, rolling through the field to reach her third final in the last three years. Receiving a bye into the second round, the Czech took down Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2, 6-1, before breezing past Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, 6-4, 6-1, in the quarterfinals. As the lone seeded player remaining after just two rounds, Kvitova was on the fast-track to the finals, but acknowledged that she was not ready to be another upset victim.

“I mean, yeah, it was lots of upsets the past few days. But this is tennis, it’s the tournament, it’s the beauty of our sport,” said Kvitova. “I’m not feeling anything. I’m just feeling well on the court, which is important for me right now. I will just focus on my next opponent, and that’s it.”

PHOTOS: Kvitova Smooth in Stosur Victory

Kvitova did just that against 2011 US Open Champion Stosur, dropping the Aussie 6-3, 6-1 to earn another finals appearance. It was a similar result for the World No. 4, who has not shown any signs of letting up in New Haven.

“Yeah, I was struggling in the two tournaments before the New Haven,” Kvitova said Friday night. “I’m glad I’m finding my form again. I’m glad with how I played, especially today. I knew Sam was going to be tough opponent. She likes to play on the hard courts, especially here in America. I mean, for me, it’s a very good win for me today.”

Rybarikova’s Run
While it has been business as usual for the Czech, the Slovak has produced a magical run to the finals.

After defeating Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round Rybarikova pulled off an absolute stunner in the second, taking down World No. 2 and Defending Champion Simona Halep, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. The Slovak broke the top-seeded Romanian six times and needed less than 30 minutes to claim the first set. Halep returned to her elite ways in the second set to force a third, but Rybarikova was simply too much to handle on that night.

“It’s very exciting and a great feeling to beat such a great player and champion,” said Rybarikova after the match. “I hope it will bring me some confidence.”

PHOTOS: Rybarikova’s Run Continues

This confidence was on full-display in the quarterfinals against rising American Alison Riske, who defeated six-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the second round. The Slovak edged out the first set 7-5 before getting blanked in the second 0-6. However, she would regain her composure in the decisive frame to win 6-4. After the match, Rybarikova admitted to feeling the pressure of reaching her first Premier-level semifinal.

“Of course, it’s much easier to play against somebody when you are more relaxed and don’t have anything to lose,” said Rybarikova in regards to her win over Halep. “But now maybe some people are expecting, maybe I was a little bit expecting from myself, that now I’m not playing against Halep, I’m playing against Riske, it’s really a chance to be in the semifinal.”

She would face a stiff test in the semifinals against hard-hitting Giorgi, who is known to put pressure on opponents with her aggressive style. The Italian had a similar trek to the semifinals, defeating four-time Connecticut Open Champion en route to the semis. However, Rybarikova controlled the match from the start and dispatched Giorgi 6-2, 6-4 for a berth in the finals.

Kvitova has rolled to the finals, while Rybarikova has shown an ability to play the role of spoiler, proving that player can be beaten on any given day. However, it’s hard to stop an elite player that is clicking on all cylinders.

On Saturday, we’ll find out which scenario holds true.

Video: Connecticut Gov. Malloy Visits Tournament

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 8 FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014 GROUNDS

Above, tournament director Anne Worcester with Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies. (Photo by Billie Weiss/United Technologies)

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy visited the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies on Friday, touring the grounds and chatting with tournament director Anne Worcester. Last year the state of Connecticut purchased the tournament to keep it from moving to the state of North Carolina.

MORE: Tournament Facts | Schedule and Draws | Watch: More Videos

Gov. Malloy met with top 25 player (and #CTOpen14 semifinalist) Sam Stosur during his visit, as well as Connecticut native and Men’s Legends Event participant James Blake.

In the video below, the governor spoke with the tournament about the state of the event, how it adds to the Connecticut sporting calendar, its local-based sponsors and even his own tennis game. Watch below:

Singles, Doubles Finals Set for Saturday

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 7 THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014 ALISON RISKE vs. MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA
Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

The singles and doubles finals are set at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies. Let’s take a look back at Friday’s results to see how we got there.

Kvitova, Rybarikova Into Finals
Magdalena Rybarikova defeated Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-4 on Friday afternoon to earn a berth into the 2014 Connecticut Open finals, becoming the lowest-ranked player in the event’s history to reach the finale, and producing the first premier-level finals appearance of her career. The Slovak will face 2012 Connecticut Open Champion Petra Kvitova, who dispatched former Grand Slam Champion Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-1 in the evening session, will play in her third straight final in New Haven.

Klepac, Soler-Espinosa to meet Erakovic, Parra-Santonja in Doubles Final
Klepac and Soler-Espinosa advanced past the duo of Jurak and American Moulton-Levy 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-8 in a doubles thriller on Stadium Court. Klepac and Soler-Espinosa squeezed through the first set via tiebreak, but were forced to another after Jurak and Moulton-Levy claimed the second set. However, they were able to hold 10-8 in the third to reach the finals. Klepac and Soler-Espinosa move on to face Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra-Santonja, who won in similar fashion over Caroline Garcia and Monica Niculescu, 6-2, 5-7, 11-9.

MORE: Updated Draws | Saturday Order of Play | Ticket Information

Slammin’ Semi: Kvitova Eyes Third Final in Three Years

stosur_kvitova

By Nick McCarvel | Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

At the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies it’s semifinal Friday as the singles and doubles draws will pick their finalists on Stadium Court. Can Petra Kvitova make her third title tilt in three years? It’s not going to be easy.

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)
Stadium Court, 1pm – ESPN2
Both Rybarikova and Giorgi have had big upsets so far this week, the Slovakian taking out No. 1 seed and defending champion Simona Halep while Giorgi beat four-time Connecticut Open winner Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. Both players followed said wins up with three-set victories, and will meet for the first time in their careers on Friday.

MORE: Updated Draws | Friday Order of Play | Ticket Information

“Giorgi is playing amazing,” said the world No. 68. “It’s very tough to play against Giorgi because she’s hitting very hard the ball. If she’s playing good, it’s very tough to beat her.”

“I don’t know her [style],” said Giorgi, who is ranked No. 38. “I just think about me, my game. I will concentrate like always. I don’t think about the game of the opponent.”

[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. [WC] Sam Stosur (AUS)
Stadium Court, 7pm – ESPN2
The blockbuster match of the day will come in the night session, where two former Grand Slam winners meet in a Connecticut semifinal. Both Kvitova and Stosur have fought through challenges this week, the two-time Wimbledon champion not dropping a set in two matches while Stosur, winner at the US Open in 2011, has captured two out of her three victories in three sets, including a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 effort against Kirsten Flipkens in the quarterfinals.

Kvitova has a 10-2 record here overall, winning in 2012 and making the final a year ago, when she lost to Halep. She brings a 5-1 record against Stosur, including 4-0 in hard courts. Three of those six matches have gone to three sets.

“I’ve got to go out there and try to play aggressive,” said Stosur, the world No. 25. “I can’t go out there and be passive against someone like Petra. She hits the ball very, very well. She goes after her shots. You know, once she’s in control of the point, it makes things very difficult to turn it around. It’s important to try to get that first strike in.”

MORE: 5 Minutes With… Sam Stosur

Doubles Semifinals
Darija Jurak/Megan Moulton-Levy vs. Andreja Klepac/Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Stadium Court, Second match after 1pm
No seeds remain in the doubles draws, as four teams of experienced players have made their way through. Moulton-Levy is the sole American left in either the singles or doubles draw, she and partner Jurak beating the No. 4 seeds to start before taking out the all-American duo of Alison Riske and Coco Vandeweghe in the quarterfinals.

Caroline Garcia/Monica Niculescu vs. Marina Erakovic/Arantxa Parra Santoja
Stadium Court, Second match after 7pm
Garcia/Niculescu were responsible for taking down the top seeds of Cara Black and Sania Mirza in the quarterfinals on Thursday, winning that match in straight sets. Erakovic/Prra Santoja pose a tough challenge, however as both teams combine for a ranking around 80.

Kvitova, Stosur Set Slam-Winner Semifinal in New Haven

CONNECTICUT OPEN - DAY 7 THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014 KVITOVA vs. ZAHLAVOVA STRYCOVA
UPDATED: 9:35 p.m. | Image above by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open

Thursday marked quarterfinal day at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, featuring No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova vying for a sport in the semifinals. The 2012 Champion did not disappoint, taking down Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in the opening match on Stadium Court. American Alison Riske fell to Magdalena Rybarikova in the second match, who will face Camila Giorgi in the semifinals.

MORE: Updated Draws | Thursday Schedule | Men’s Legends Event

Kvitova Strong in Quarters
In a match-up of countrywomen, No. 2 seed Kvitova upended Zahlavova-Strycova, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals. Kvitova, the lone seed remaining in the field, displayed a dominant serve, winning her service points at an impressive 70 percent clip.

Stosur Sets All-Slam Winner SF
Sam Stosur assured an all-Grand Slam winner semifinal in New Haven with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over a game Kirsten Flipkens on Thursday night. The match had just four breaks in it – one each in the first two sets and two in the decider – and Stosur was able to come out the victor, hitting a final winner up the line to secure that second break and seal her first semifinal since Hobart.

Rybarikova Defeats Riske
Rybarikova continues her impressive stretch at the 2014 Connecticut Open. After defeating defending Champion and top-seed Simona Halep in the Round of 16, she took down Riske, 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 to reach the semifinals. She will face Camila Giorgi in the semifinals.

MORE:  5 Minutes With… Sam Stosur | PHOTOS: Thursday Day Session

Giorgi Holds Off Muguruza
In a fantastic match between two up-and-comers, hard-hitting Giorgi staved off Muguruza to win 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2 on Stadium Court. The Italian moves on to face Rybarikova in the semifinals.

Erakovic, Parra-Santonja and Garcia, Niculescu Into Doubles Semifinals
Marina Erakovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova, 1-6, 7-5, 10-7, to advance to the doubles semifinals. In the second doubles tilt today, Caroline Garcia and Monica Niculescu knocked off top-seeded Cara Black and Sania Mirza, 7-6(2), 6-4. Both teams will meet each other for the right to play in the finals.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.