NEW HAVEN - Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic clinched the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title with a 6-3, 6-3, quarterfinal win over Lucie Safarova (also of the Czech Republic) at the New Haven Open at Yale today. This is the first Emirates Airline US Open Series title for Kvitova. She will now compete for the largest payout in tennis history at the 2012 US Open -- $2.9 million ($1.9 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion).
The 2011 Wimbledon champion is currently tied with Li Na of China atop the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings with 170 points, but holds the head-to-head Series tiebreaker over Li Na with her victory in the final at Montreal. The women’s third place finisher in this year’s bonus challenge has yet to be determined.
The men’s winner of the Emirates Airline US Open Series will also compete for $1 million in bonus prize money at the 2012 US Open. Sam Querrey is currently competing at the Winston-Salem Open and is the only player that can overtake standings leader Novak Djokovic. The second and third place finishers on the men’s and women’s sides will compete for $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.
In 2011, Serena Williams took the 2011 women’s title, earning a total $1.4 million by advancing to the US Open final, while Mardy Fish won the 2011 men’s title. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and again equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing second in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance,evian and Gatorade.