New Haven, Conn. -- In the first year of the combined men's and women's event there is a strong international presence in the women's draw with players from 10 countries, many of whom are enjoying a successful 2005 season. Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event on the ATP Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, is set for August 19-28, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
With three of the top 10 players in the world already entered into the Pilot Pen, the field has become even stronger. Patty Schnyder, No. 12 in the world, has had a strong 2005 season with a title at Gold Coast, a finals appearance at Rome, three semifinal appearances at Dubai, Charleston and Berlin and four quarterfinal appearances at Sydney, Australian Open, Antwerp and Warsaw.
Elena Likhovtseva, ranked 16 in the world after knocking off the No. 5-ranked player, Elena Dementieva, on her way to the 2005 French Open semifinals, also boasts a quarterfinal appearance this year at Tokyo and is looking to add her fourth career WTA Tour title at New Haven.
The 2004 Pilot Pen Tennis finalist, Nathalie Dechy, has jumped to No. 18 in the world after a remarkable semifinal run at the Australian Open and three quarterfinal appearances at Indian Wells, Warsaw and Eastbourne.
An up-and-comer to watch for is 20-year-old Jelena Jankovic. The young Serbian, ranked 19th in the world, is looking to add her second career title after two finals appearances this year, one at Dubai, where she defeated Serena Williams, and a second finals appearance at Birmingham.
These players join an already competitive field led by world number three Amelie Mauresmo and two of the top ranked Russians in the world, Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova as well as Daniela Hantuchova and defending Pilot Pen champion Elena Bovina.
"We have been committed to bringing world-class women's tennis to New Haven for the past seven years and this year is no exception," said Anne Worcester, tournament director. "In this first year of a combined Pilot Pen, both the men's and women's fields will be deep, competitive and entertaining for our fans, sponsors and television viewers."
The "cut off" for the direct entries into the women's main draw is a competitive 39, Nuria Llagostera Vives. Players ranked lower must qualify to enter the main draw or will move into the main draw should there be any withdrawals. There are three wild cards in the 28 draw which have not yet been assigned and four qualifying positions remaining.
The Next In Main Draw list of competitors in this year's Pilot Pen is filled with talented international players who are also enjoying a successful 2005 season. Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria, No. 48, was a quarterfinalist at Gold Coast and the French Open with an upset over Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams. The 23 year old Eleni Daniilidou from Greece, No. 57, comes into the tournament with an enormous confidence boost after defeating Justine Henin- Hardenne in the first round of Wimbledon. Anna Smashnova, No. 61 in the world, recently captured her 10th career title at Modena, making her 10 for 10 in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles.
American standouts included on the Next In Main Draw list are Mashona Washington, No. 52, with three quarterfinal appearances this year at Istanbul, Birmingham and Eastbourne. Other Americans on the Next In Main Draw list include Lisa Raymond, No. 53, Jill Craybas, who upset Serena Williams at Wimbledon, No. 50 and Meghann Shaughnessy, No. 66.
Daily individual box seat and middle tier tickets can be purchased by calling 888-99-PILOT or logging on to www.pilotpentennis.com.
About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA
The 2005 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event, will be held August 19-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The Pilot Pen is the first combined men's and women's summer tournament leading into the US Open. Some of the biggest names in men's and women's tennis have committed to play the 2005 Pilot Pen such as ATP Tour players Gustavo Kuerten, James Blake, Taylor Dent, Fernando Gonzalez and Nicholas Massu and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players Amelie Mauresmo, Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova and defending champion Elena Bovina. A minimum of 19 1/2 hours of the 2005 Pilot Pen will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2005 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at (203)776-7331 or (888) 99- PILOT.
About the US Open Series
The US Open Series is the cohesive, six-week summer tennis season of 10 major North American tournaments linked to the US Open. The US Open Series launched in 2004, and resulted in record attendance, TV viewership and live broadcast hours for the sport. Television viewership was up over 50%, with regularly scheduled broadcasts on ESPN, CBS, NBC Sports, and The Tennis Channel. In total, the US Open Series events - - including the US Open - - generated a record 1.5 million attendees, 126 million TV viewers and over 15 million website visits, making it the strongest summertime property in sports. Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt won the inaugural US Open Series.