2011 WIMBLEDON CHAMPION AND WORLD NO. 6 PETRA KVITOVA GRANTED WILDCARD INTO NEW HAVEN OPEN

2012 Olympian Becomes Fifth Top-10 Player in New Haven Open Field

NEW HAVEN, Conn., August 2, 2012 – 2011 Wimbledon Champion, 2012 Olympian and World No. 6 Petra Kvitova has been granted a wildcard into the 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester.

Kvitova had a breakout year in 2011, winning seven titles including Wimbledon and the WTA Championships. As a member of Czech Republic Fed Cup Team, the 22-year-old also helped her country win the international competition, going 6-0 in her singles matches throughout the year-long tournament.

To cap off her breakthrough year, Kvitova became the first player since Maria Sharapova in 2004 to win both the WTA Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards. She ended the 2011 season ranked No. 2 in the world.

In 2012, the hard-hitting lefty has reached the semifinals of the Australian and French Opens and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, becoming the only player to advance to at least the quarterfinals of all three Grand Slams this year. She reached the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games this week as well, and has also lead her Czech team back to the Fed Cup finals for the second consecutive year, again undefeated in her four matches.

Kvitova will be making her second career appearance at the New Haven Open, having last competed in 2010. She joins World No. 2 and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, World No. 8 and four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, World No. 9 and French Open finalist Sara Errani and World No. 10 Marion Bartoli as the five players in the New Haven Open field ranked in the WTA Top 10.

“We are delighted to welcome World No. 6 Petra Kvitova back to the New Haven Open,” said Worcester. “She is an incredible athlete who is extremely exciting to watch. Having five of the top-10 players in the world is a testament to how competitive the 2012 New Haven Open field is and we still have three Wild Cards to give out; an amazing week of tennis in New Haven is in store for fans!”

Log on to www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366 for more information and to purchase tickets which start at just $19. Also, make sure to join New Haven Open on Facebook & Twitter for tournament updates, contests and more.

About New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara
New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara has always been much more than a tennis tournament; it is a leading example of leveraging a large-scale international sporting event to generate $26 million in regional economic impact and to build community pride, spirit and engagement, especially among youth. The 2011 tournament featured World No. 1 and now four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, and three Grand Slam champions Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The women’s-only WTA event is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The New Haven Open is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and also broadcast around the world. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit http://www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366.

About First Niagara
First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with nearly 430 branches, approximately $35 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 6,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.

About 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.

Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. 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 Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.

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