Connecticut Open notebook: Attack hits home for Suarez Navarro
Attack hits home for Suarez Navarro
Carla Suarez Navarro’s quest to reach the quarterfinals in Cincinnati came to an end with a straight-sets loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova. However, a few minutes after leaving the court, she suddenly found herself not quite as concerned about the defeat.
Suarez Navarro got word of the terrorist attack in Barcelona, a city she has called home for a decade and a place where family members still reside. Being half a world away, there were moments of anxiousness for the 28-year-old.
Before Suarez Navarro thought about the impact the van attack was having on her adopted hometown, she needed to make sure those closest to her were not among the victims.
“The world is crazy and it happens all over the world but when they touch your city it is different,” Suarez Navarro said Tuesday after her first-round victory over Jana Cepelova at the Connecticut Open. “All my family was good but it is tough because it is your city.”
She said she reads pretty much every report available online to keep up with updates from the attack.
Suarez Navarro has finished in the top 20 in the WTA rankings in each of the last four years but wins have been harder to come by this year. She is currently ranked 35th. She reached the semifinals in Monterrey and won three matches en route to the round of 16 at the French Open but she has some work to do to finish in the top 20 again.
Suarez Navarro made the difficult decision to make a coaching change three weeks ago. She split from Xavier Budo, who has coached her for the last 10 years.
“We always want to be better players,” Suarez Navarro said. “I need to be better, which means I have to change something.”
Cepelova, a qualifier, suffered an upper leg injury resulting in her retiring from the match after losing the first set 6-4 and trailing 4-0 in the second.
Daria Gavrilova topped Timea Babos 7-5, 7-6 to become the first player to reach the quarterfinals. Gavrilova trailed 6-2 in the second-set tiebreaker before winning the final five points to close out the match.
Qualifier Elise Mertens topped Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 7-6 to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. Less than an hour and a half later she was back on the court for her doubles match.
DOYLE WINS SOLOMON AWARD
Paul Doyle, who has covered the Connecticut Open for the Hartford Courant for the last 14 years, was named the winner of the Dave Solomon Media Award from the tournament.
Solomon was an award-winning columnist for the New Haven Register who died in a one-car accident while returning home from covering UConn football practice on Aug. 6, 2011. The award was created that year and the inaugural winner was Register sports editor Sean Barker.
Doyle received the award before the start of Tuesday’s evening session with his wife and children along with Judy Solomon, Solomon’s widow, among those in attendance for the presentation on Stadium Court.
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS ELIMINATED
Defending doubles champions and top-seeded Sania Mirza and Monica Niculescu were knocked out in the first round Tuesday by Nicole Melichar and Anna Smith.
Melichar and Smith, who won together at Nuremberg in May, were the first alternates this week. They got into the field when Sloane Stephens, who was supposed to team with Eugenie Bouchard, withdrew before the tournament with a wrist injury.
FISH TO REPLACE RODDICK
Mardy Fish will replace Hall of Famer Andy Roddick in the Men’s Legend Event.
Fish, a two-time finalist at the ATP formerly held in New Haven, will meet Mark Philippoussis on Thursday with James Blake meeting Michael Chang in Thursday’s other match. The winners will play Friday. Roddick was a replacement for John McEnroe last week.