Who’s Who at the NHO: Part Four

by Nicholas McCarvel

This week, in our series previewing the players headed to the New Haven Open, we profile a French Open doubles champion – Elena Vesnina – and a Wimbledon runner-up from the 2013 season – Sabine Lisicki. Also, we learn more about Dominika Cibulkova, the current leader of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and Carla Suarez Navarro.

ImageElena Vesnina, Russia. Rank: 22 Age: 27
The steady Russian has two career titles to her name, both in 2013 at Hobart and Eastbourne. Along with fellow New Haven Open competitor Ekaterina Makarova, she’s also captured the BNP Paribas Open and the French Open titles this year. In her fourth appearance at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, the 27-year-old will try to duplicate her 2009 run, in which she beat Sam Stosur and Amelie Mauresmo en route to the final, where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki.  This season, Vesnina has notched wins over Ana Ivanovic, Li Na, Roberta Vinci and Sloane Stephens.

More Who’s Who: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

ImageDominika Cibulkova, Slovakia. Rank: 20 Age: 24
The diminutive Slovak is fresh off her third career title, having shocked Agnieszka Radwanska in the Stanford final last month. The 24-year-old is playing in her fifth New Haven Open, her best performance coming a year ago when she made the quarterfinals, losing to Wozniacki. Cibulkova reached a career-high No. 12 in the world after reaching the semifinals of the French Open in 2009. Since, the gritty baseliner has made the last eight at a major three more times.

ImageCarla Suarez Navarro, Spain. Rank: 19 Age: 24
Suarez Navarro has been a finalist five times in her career, including at Acapulco and Oeiras earlier this year. The 24-year-old has a striking one-handed backhand which has helped her reach the quarterfinals at Grand Slams twice before. The Spaniard is making her third appearance in New Haven, having beaten Nadia Petrova, Stosur, Wozniacki, Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani so far this year.

ImageSabine Lisicki, Germany. Rank: 18 Age: 23
Lisicki has never played in New Haven, and arrives on the heels of her run to the Wimbledon final, which included wins over Stosur, Serena Williams and Radwanska before falling to fellow 2013 New Haven competitor Marion Bartoli in the championship match. The hard-serving German has three career titles to her name, most recently in Dallas in 2011. Including her London effort earlier this summer, Lisicki has been to the second week of a major six times.

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