New Haven Open at Yale preview

August 17, 2012 11:05 AM
"I love playing the New Haven Open and being on the Yale campus," says four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki. "The amazing fans in Connecticut make the tournament feel like a home event for me."
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to
Caroline Wozniacki will be gunning for her fifth straight New Haven Open, which last year featured three Grand Slam champions in Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wozniacki will have plenty of competition for the crown, the stiffest of which could come from 22-year-old Poland native Agnieszka Radwanska, who had a fantastic first half of 2012, winning titles in Dubai and Miami, and reaching a career-high world ranking of No. 3 before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals. Last year in New Haven, Radwanska suffered an early loss to a streaking Petra Cetkovska. Cetkovska would eventually reach the final before losing to Wozniacki, who stormed to the 2011 title without dropping a set in the tournament. With a championship run in 2012, Wozniacki would surpass Venus Williams to become the outright recordholder for consecutive and overall titles won at the New Haven Open. 
Looking Back:
When it arrived in New Haven in 1998, the tournament was known as the Pilot Pen International. German superstar Steffi Graf won that year’s title after defeating the Czech Republic’s Jana Novotna in straight sets in the final.
One to Watch:
Christina McHale, who last year beat two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her run to the New Haven Open at Yale quarterfinals as a wild card. The 20-year-old American beat reigning Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova earlier this year.
Did You Know?
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginia stopped play for two hours during the third game of a 2011 first-round match between Jelena Jankovic and Elena Vesnina while the main stadium was checked for damage by the fire department.