By: Nick McCarvel
Before they win Grand Slams, before they become the household names that so many women’s tennis stars have been in the past and are today, the rising stars of the WTA stop at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies hungry to make their mark.
With the August 21 start date less than a month away, we’re looking at the players that will descend on the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in a four-part getting-to-know-you series. First: the young and the dangerous.
Genie Bouchard, 21, Canada | Rank: 26
The hard-hitting Canadian was the breakout star of 2014, making the Wimbledon final, semifinals at both the Australian and French Opens and embedding herself in the top 10. She hasn’t had the same success this year, but remains a player that most want to avoid in the draw, her powerful baseline game always lethal – particularly on the hardcourts of North America.
Did you know? Eugenie and her twin sister Beatrice are named after British royalty
Karolina Pliskova, 23, Czech Republic | Rank: 12
Few players had as good of a start to 2015 as Pliskova, who went 28-8 in the early part of the season, winning the fourth title of her career and first in front of a home crowd, in Prague. Pliskova has been tapped as a next-big-thing in women’s tennis, with wins over Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Lucie Safarova, Garbiñe Mugurzua and Angelique Kerber among others, and inserting herself into the top 15.
Did you know? Karolina loves to relax by going fishing. That’s right, fishing
Elina Svitolina, 20, Ukraine | Rank: 20
Only American Madison Keys is younger among top-20 ranked women than Svitolina, a fresh face who already has three career WTA titles, most recently in Morocco earlier this year. The Ukrainian had a career-best Grand Slam result at the French Open in June, marching into the quarterfinals before falling to former world No. 1 Ivanovic.
Did you know? A world traveler, Svitolina calls Chinese food her favorite
Caroline Garcia, 21, France | Rank: 35
When she nearly defeated Maria Sharapova at the French Open in 2011, men’s player Andy Murray said Garcia would one day be world No. 1. The Frenchwoman has made a slow climb into the world’s top 40, winning her maiden title in Bogota last year before making two finals (both in Mexico) earlier this year.
Did you know? Garcia is an accomplished doubles player, too, ranked inside the top 20