Where: Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University, New Haven, CT
When: Aug. 20-26, 2016 (qualifying starts Aug. 18)
Defending Champions: Agnieszka Radwanska (singles); Sania Mirza and Monica Niculescu (doubles)
Tournament Website: www.ctopen.org
The Connecticut Open has been played in New Haven, Conn., since 1998. The tournament, also recognized as the U.S. Women’s Hard Court Championships, began in 1948, moving between California, Washington, Utah and Colorado. After a hiatus from 1970 to 1987, it was revived in San Antonio in 1998 and moved to Vermont in 1993. It was held in New Haven as a dual event in conjunction with the ATP World Tour from 2005 to 2010, at which time the men’s component moved to Winston-Salem, N.C. The event changed its name to the Connecticut Open in 2014.
Past women's champions include current or future Hall of Famers Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Venus Williams. New Haven has been dominated in recent years by Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova, who have combined to win seven of the last nine titles.
Agnieszka Radwanska closed the US Open Series in style a year ago, defeating Elina Svitolina, 6-1, 7-6, for her second career Series title (along with the 2014 Rogers Cup). The Pole did not drop a set en route to her first New Haven crown, posting victories over rising star Jelena Ostapenko, Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and two-time defending champion Petra Kvitova before topping Svitolina in the finale.
In doubles, Sania Mirza picked up her second title of the 2016 Series season, this time teaming with Monica Niculescu to defeat Chia-Jung Chuang and Kateryna Bondarenko, 7-5, 6-4.
This year’s Connecticut Open will once again bring down the curtain on the US Open Series season. New Haven routinely draws top-notch fields, with the tournament serving as excellent preparation for the US Open, which is just a 90-minute ride down I-95.
In 2016, 12 of the Top 20 players in the world entered the draw, including three-time champion Petra Kvitova and current Top 15 players Karolina Pliskova, Dominika Cibulkova, Johanna Konta Agnieszka Radwanska, Sveltana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys, Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina, as well as 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci.
Since the tournament’s revival in 1988, every champion but 2004 winner Elena Bovina has either won a Grand Slam singles title or reached a Slam singles final.
– E.J. Crawford