2016 Tournament Preview: Connecticut Open

February 29, 2016 08:06 AM

Where: Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University, New Haven, CT

When: Aug. 21-27, 2016 (qualifying starts Aug. 19)

Defending Champions: Petra Kvitova (singles); Julia Goerges and Lucie Hradecka (doubles)

Tournament Website: www.ctopen.org

History: 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. After not being held 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 from the New Haven Open at Yale to the Connecticut Open in 2014.

Past women's champions include Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Venus Williams. In fact, since the tournament’s revival in 1988, every New Haven champion but 2004 winner Elena Bovina has either won a Grand Slam singles title or reached a Slam singles final.

2015 Recap: Petra Kvitova continued her recent domination in New Haven, staging an impressive run to capture her second consecutive Connecticut Open singles title and her third in four years. En route to the title, the Czech defeated, in order, then-world No. 19 Madison Keys, No. 15 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 6 Lucie Safarova, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2, in the final. In doubles, Julia Goerges and Lucie Hradecka, the fourth seeds, topped the unseeded duo of Chia-Jung Chuang and Chen Liang, 6-3, 6-1, for their first Connecticut Open crown.

Those weren’t the only champions for the week, however. By reaching the Connecticut Open quarterfinals, Karolina Pliskova clinched her first-ever overall Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s championship. Also, New Haven served as host for the US Open National Playoffs, which annually awards a men’s and women’s wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament and main draw wild cards into the men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles events at the US Open.
2016 Preview: This year’s Connecticut Open will once again bring down the curtain on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, which means it will likely decide the 2016 Series women’s champion. And there should be plenty of competition for the title. In fact, 12 of the Top 20 players in the world are currently entered in the draw, including defending champion and newly minted Olympic bronze medalist Petra Kvitova and Olympic semifinalist and No. 9 Madison Keys. Other Top 10 entrants include No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 8 Roberta Vinci, the 2015 US Open runner-up, and No. 10 Sveltana Kuznetsova. The other Top 20 entrants are Dominika Cibulkova, Johanna Konta, Timea Bacsinszky, defending Series champion Karolina Pliskova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elina Svitolina and Barbora Strycova.

In addition, the Connecticut Open will again host the National Playoffs – Championships in 2016.

Ed. Note: Story updated 8/19

Fun Fact: The 2015 all-Czech Petra Kvitova-Lucie Safarova final was the first Connecticut Open women’s singles title match to feature two lefties. It was also the first to feature two opponents from the same country since Jennifer Capriati defeated Lindsay Davenport in an all-American finale in 2003.

– E.J. Crawford