Who’s Who at the NHO: Part Two

By Nicholas McCarvel

With the New Haven Open at Yale less than three weeks away, we continue to preview the tournament with a look at four more stars that will descend on the courts in Connecticut Aug. 16-24. Today we learn more on Bojana Jovanovski, Peng Shuai, Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova.

Jovanovski, BojanaBojana Jovanovski, Serbia. Rank: 50 Age: 21
The Serbian youngster arrives in New Haven with one career title, capturing Baku last year. She will be making her first appearance in a main draw in Connecticut after what has been a successful year at tennis’ majors. Jovanovski is 6-3 in three Grand Slams so far in 2013, registering wins over four-time New Haven Open Caroline Wozniacki (at the French Open) and Lucie Safarova (in Australia), the latter leading to a career-best fourth-round run at a major.

Peng Shuai, China. Rank: 34 Age: 27OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Peng is now a Wimbledon champion having won women’s doubles with fellow Asian Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei earlier this year. The 27-year-old has five career titles in singles, most recently in Brussels this year – a tournament run that included a win over American upstart Sloane Stephens. Peng qualified for her first and only New Haven Open in 2005, eight years ago. She hits with two hands off both sides, a style that has helped her reach the fourth round of majors four different times, most recently at Wimbledon in 2012.

Halep, SimonaSimona Halep, Romania. Rank: 23 Age: 21
Halep is one of the must-watch players on the WTA this season, winning her first three career titles in the span of just two months by taking Nurnberg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Budapest. The 2008 French Open junior winner had a breakout performance in Rome in May, qualifying before beating Svetlana Kuznetsova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Roberta Vinci and Jelena Jankovic en route to the semifinals, where she lost to Serena Williams. The No. 1-ranked Romanian will be making her first New Haven main draw appearance.

Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic. Rank: 30 Age: 26RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY
The Czech lefty has been a mainstay in women’s tennis since 2007, when, as a 19-year-old, she stunned No. 2 seed and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo on her way to her first and only Grand Slam quarterfinal. Safarova has four career titles and was a quarterfinalist in New Haven a year ago, losing to countrywoman and eventual tournament winner Petra Kvitova. The 26-year-old has registered wins over notable names Sam Stosur and Sorana Cirstea this season and has been an integral part of the Czech Fed Cup team, who captured the titles in 2011 and 2012.

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