NHO Cheat Sheet: Lisicki’s Back on Track, Monday Madness

by Nicholas McCarvel

Sabine Lisicki of Germany Defeats Kristina Mladenovic of France.

WHAT’D YOU MISS on Sunday at the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara? And what’s on tap for Monday? We run down everything you need to know from the final Emirates U.S. Open Series event of the summer at the Connecticut Tennis Center.

MORE: Draws and Order of Play | Monday’s Champions Night Features Caro, Kvitova

Sunday’s Moment: Sabine’s Winning Return
You may not have known it, but Sabine Lisicki hadn’t won a match since her dramatic three-set victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals of Wimbledon. A wrist injury set the German out of tennis for much of the summer and she didn’t return until last week when she lost to Jelena Jankovic in the first round in Cincinnati. Sunday in New Haven Lisicki found her form again, beating a tough opponent in Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-1 on Stadium Court. The No. 7 seed won what was the only first-round match Sunday, as the remaining 13 – yes, 13! – will be played on Monday.

Monday’s Must-Watch Match: Sorana Cirstea vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
On Court 1, the day starts with a popcorn match that has avid tennis fans watering at the mouth. Cirstea is the Toronto runner up, having beaten former world No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Jankovic as well as Li Na before falling to Serena Williams in the final just two week ago. Pavlyuchenkova is a former U.S. Open quarterfinalist. The two have met three times, with the Romanian Cirstea winning two of them, but they haven’t played since 2011.

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Champions Night: Caroline and Kvitova
The evening session Monday night features two players who hold the last five New Haven Open at Yale crowns, as well as a whopping 30 WTA titles, a Wimbledon trophy and dozens of weeks at No. 1. Caroline Wozniacki starts the night at 7pm against Peng Shuai before Petra Kvitova caps it off against Urszula Radwanska, the younger sister to Agnieszka. Wozniacki brings a 20-1 tournament record at New Haven over the last five years while Kvitova has won four straight in New Haven, having swept the field – including this year’s No. 1 seed, Errani – just a year ago.

America’s Can’t Miss Duo
There might be only two Americans in the draw this year in New Haven, but both of them are must-watch players. Well known Sloane Stephens, the No. 6 seed, brings her heavy, dangerous forehand to the Connecticut Tennis Center to try and continue the successful season she’s had in 2013, which has included runs to the second week of every major. She plays not before 3:30 on Stadium Court against qualifier Anna Schmiedlova. Schmiedlova is just 18 and she and the 20-year-old Stephens have never met before. It’s a first meeting for American Alison Riske and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland. The pair of 23-year-olds both had to come through qualifying over the weekend, winning three matches in as many days. Riske, ranked No. 98, had an impressive run to the third round at Wimbledon earlier this summer, marking her first-ever wins at a major.

Monday Madness
We’ve already called out the biggest matches of the day, but the truth is there are almost too many to mention. Former world No. 5 and wild card Daniela Hantuchova starts the day on Stadium Court against a foromidable Simona Halep before Dominika Cibulkova, the eighth seed, meets Klara Zakopalova. On Grandstand, No. 5 seed Roberta Vinci starts the day against world No. 20 Carla Suarez Navarro, followed by Julia Goerges and later youngster Monica Puig. It’s Riske and Voegele who close the day on Grandstand.

Quote me on That
“I always feel comfortable when I’m around colleges. Seeing all the cafes with heaps of books is a completely different atmosphere for me. That is what is great in being here.”
-Sabine Lisicki on being close to the Yale campus this week

Tweet-tastic
You’ve seen this video, right? Petra Kvitova claims she’s the funniest of the top four players. Is she right? Watch below to find out.

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Picture This
Top seed Sara Errani has a laugh during filming for the aforementioned video. The world No. 5 has a first-round bye.

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