Not even Hurricane Irene could keep Caroline Wozniacki from winning in New Haven.
Rain preceded, delayed and followed the women’s final of the New Haven Open, but the top-ranked Wozniacki made the most of the time she had, defeating qualifier Petra Cetkovska, 6–4, 6–1. The victory is Wozniacki’s fourth consecutive title in the Elm City, where she is now 17–0.
“You always play better when you like to be at a tournament,” Wozniacki said at a press conference following her match. “I’m really pleased to be in this situation. Winning four straight times in a row is really unbelievable.”
Cetkovska, who is ranked 40th in the world, was making her first appearance in a WTA final. She had already upset second seed and world No. 5 Li Na in the semifinals and No. 9 Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals and won seven consecutive times at the tournament to get through qualifying and to her match with Wozniacki.
The Czech, however, could not keep her magic going Saturday afternoon, and came out flat in the second set after keeping close through the first.
“For every game there is a solution, and today I didn’t have it,” Cetkovska said in a press conference. “Next time I will try. I might not win, but maybe I will do a little better.”
Wozniacki stymied her opponent with steady baseline play. Though Cetkovska attacked consistently and hit 25 winners — to her opponents nine — she also made 35 unforced errors. Wozniacki tallied only 12 while keeping Cetkovska back with deep ground strokes all afternoon.
The match had been moved from 5 p.m. to 1 p.m. in order to avoid the rain, but officials suspended play just 14 minutes in. The court was dry enough to resume 1 hour 40 minutes later, and Wozniacki and Cetkovska traded games until Wozniacki broke her opponent’s serve in the tenth game to capture the set.
Cetkovska never threatened again, and Wozniacki was raising her racquet in triumph just 1 hour and 6 minutes later.
“It was important for me to start well in the second set and to get a little bit of a lead, Wozniacki said. “Then I just kept my focus and didn’t let her back in.”
Wozniacki won just in time, as the rain returned during the awards ceremony following the match. Officials had prepared for the storm by hiring cranes to remove the tournament’s video scoreboards the night before the final and by letting vendors begin to disassemble their shops early.
They also said they had been ready to move play indoors to Yale’s Cullman-Heyman tennis center had there been a second rain delay. Wozniacki and Cetkovska both planned to head directly to New York and prepare for the Monday start of the U.S. Open following the match, and said they were ready to finish inside.
“I said, “Okay, it looks like it’s going to start raining, let’s go indoors so we can go to New York,’” Wozniacki said. “But we got a window and were able to finish. It was nice to play outside in front of the crowd.”
Wozniacki played with a wrap around her right thigh, after saying she had felt a strain during her semifinal match Friday. She said, however, that the leg would not affect her performance in the U.S. Open, at which she is the top seed.
Tournament director Anne Worcester, who proudly announced during the awards ceremony that neither the Hurricane Irene nor the earthquake earlier this week could steal the show from the tournament, asked both players after the match if they would return.
“I’m sure I’ll be back next year,” said Wozniacki, adding “See you then.”
Cetkovska is expected to jump from No. 40 in the world to No. 35 following her performance this week.