CT Open upsetting for top-ranked stars

Although the Elis will not begin their fall season for several weeks, tennis action returned to Yale as the University played host to the World Tennis Association Connecticut Open professional tournament. The women’s only event, held Aug. 15–23, featured 32 singles competitors in the main draw and 16 pairs of doubles competitors. With $120,000 dollars on the line for the single’s champion and a $38,000 dollar purse offered to the winning doubles pair, the stakes were high for those competing in the draw.

Though No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 6 Maria Sharapova were noticeably absent, the CT Open featured a star-studded cast of big-name tennis pros including No. 2 Simona Halep, No. 4 Petra Kvitova, No. 8 Eugenie Bouchard and No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki. One of these stars, Kvitova, would walk away from the CT Open with her second title at the event in three years.

“I’m just glad that I came with passion and good form and I hope I can show it in the U.S. Open,” Kvitova said.

Although trouble loomed for these international stars, the top players advanced smoothly through the first round of singles play. Halep and Kvitova moved through on first-round byes and Bouchard posted a dominant 6–1, 6–1 win over Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski.

Round 2 of singles play brought the biggest shocks of the tournament when several of the stars fizzled out rather quickly. Halep, Wozniacki and Bouchard were each defeated by unseeded competitors in a series of tremendous upsets. Wozniacki’s defeat came as perhaps the most surprising. Showing little concern for Wozniacki’s big name, Italy’s Camila Giorgi dispensed of her handily in a 6–4, 6–2 triumph.

“It was a great feeling [to win] today and it was a great match. I played my game and I think that was the key,” said the Italian following her surprise win.

As the dust at the day’s end, Kvitova was the only surviving member of the top-seeded quartet.

Taking advantage of the now depleted field, Kvitova advanced to the final round, where she took on Magdalena Rybarikova, the player responsible for knocking out the tournament’s top-ranked star, Simona Halep. Though injured, Rybarikova still managed to take court for her final match, but suffered a quick exit when Kvitova waltzed to victory in straight sets to claim her second singles title at the CT Open.

In a press conference after the loss, Rybarikova reflected on her injury: At first she was unsure whether she would even play that day, but she took some painkillers and attempted to fight hard on the court. Though she was defeated, the Slovak said that she did not want to pin her loss on her health.

Doubles play provided its own exciting finishes in the tournament. Much like in singles play, top competitors were eliminated in shocking fashion. Each of the top four pairs were eliminated from the tournament by the end of the second round, with the No. 2 seeded duo of Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik taking an unceremonious, straight-sets exit in Round 1. Ultimately it was the unseeded team of Andreja Klepac and Silvia Soler-Espinosa that took home the $38,000 prize, emerging from a scrum of top-seeded contenders to lay claim to the title. Though star power did not win out at the CT Open, upsets and underdog triumphs abounded as rankings provided little safety for the tournament’s top competitors.

The CT Open has been held annually since 1988 and has been hosted by Yale since 1998.

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