CT Open tennis features 21 Olympians
NEW HAVEN —- The player field for the Connecticut Open is comprised entirely of players who will compete in the Rio Olympic Games, it was announced Wednesday by tournament director Anne Worcester. The WTA event is Aug. 19-27 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
The main draw currently features 21 players — 20 direct acceptance and one wild card — all of whom will represent their countries in Rio. The first of four wild cards was given to four-time Connecticut Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki, who will be the flag bearer for Denmark for the opening ceremony.
The direct entry cutoff (31) is the lowest since 2003 which means that 20 of the Top 31 players in the world have committed to play in New Haven. The draw will feature Grand Slam Champions Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009 Roland Garros, 2004 US Open) and Petra Kvitova (2012, 2014 Wimbledon), former World No. 1 players Jelena Jankovic and Wozniacki, and numerous players who have won titles this year —No. 8 Roberta Vinci, No. 11 Madison Keys, No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 16 Karolina Pliskova, No. 17 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 20 Elina Svitolina, No. 21 Sara Errani, No. 23 Sloane Stephens (three titles), and No. 26 Kiki Bertens.
In addition a trio of up-and-coming players to watch this year in New Haven are No. 15 Belinda Bencic, the Swiss star won two tournaments last year and reached the final of St. Petersburg in 2016; World No. 18 Johanna Konta, the British player advanced to this year’s Australian Open semifinals, and World No. 29 Daria Kasatkina, the Russian who was a quarterfinalist at Indian Wells and Charleston in 2016.
Rounding out the field are 2016 Wimbledon semifinalist Elena Vesnina as well as, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Barbora Strycova, Ekaterina Makarova, and Irina-Camelia Begu.
“From a rankings perspective, all of these players would be seeded at a Grand Slam, which shows how deep and talented the player field is for the 2016 Connecticut Open,” Worcester said. “From Grand Slam Champions to talented Americans to more than 20 Olympians — the field will be dynamic, international in flavor and extremely competitive. We will aim to add more top players to the field in the next month with our three additional wild cards.”
In addition to adding three more players with wild cards, six players will advance through the 48 player qualifying draw to complete the field. The top two seeds at the tournament will receive a bye.
In addition, James Blake, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe and Mardy Fish will compete in the PowerShares Series Event at the Connecticut Open. On Thursday evening, Aug.t 25, following the WTA quarterfinal, McEnroe will play Blake, and on Friday evening, Aug. 26, following the WTA semifinal, Roddick will battle Fish, with the winners of each matchup competing in a final on Friday night. The men’s matches will all be one set each. Both matches will be the second match of the evening session, following the WTA quarterfinal and semifinal match, respectively.