NHO Cheat Sheet: Sloane’s Big Year, Martina Makes a Comeback

by Nicholas McCarvel


Ask Sloane Stephens what she would have thought a year ago should she have been able to know how the next 12 months of her career would go and the 20-year-old American’s eyes grow wide with excitement.

“Oh my god!” She gushes, touching her hand to her carefully-placed fluorescent orange headband. “I would be so excited! It’s been a crazy, crazy year. From the start of the year to now I’ve had so many crazy experiences. Obviously I’ve learned a lot and I’m thankful for everything that has happened this year”

Sloane added to that year of learning on Monday, opening her 2013 New Haven Open at Yale campaign with a convincing 6-4, 6-4 win over 18-year-old up and comer Anna Schmiedlova. It’s Sloane’s first year playing at the Connecticut Tennis Center as a seed, and the world No. 17 is taking to the pressure just fine.

“It’s stressful sometimes, but I have to do what is best for me. I want to go out there and have fun.”

Monday Rush Hour
It was a busy day in New Haven for much of Monday as 13 first-round matches were scheduled to take place. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a former U.S. Open quarterfinalist, was a winner over Sorana Cirstea in a match many thought would be the pick of the day. But Cirstea, a week removed from her run to the Toronto final, retired with an injury down 3-0 in the first set.

Carla Suarez Navarro and Klara Zakopalova led a mini-upset charge, beating seeds Roberta Vinci and Dominika Cibulkova, respectively. Suarez Navarro, ranked 20th, was the first player not be seeded, and dispatched the world No. 12 in straight sets.

Ekaterina Makarova, Simona Halep, Karin Knapp, Monica Puig and 2009 finalist Elena Vesnina were all also winners on Monday. So was Julia Goerges, the German who will face Sloane in the second round.

Rain Reigns Over Evening Session
It didn’t end the day, but it certainly altered it. Rain came for a good chunk of Monday evening, pushing back the night session two hours. It bumped Petra Kvitova‘s match to Tuesday (she plays Annika Beck not before 3:30pm on Stadium Court). Wozniacki trailed Peng Shuai 2-6, 3-1 before the Chinese player retired due to illness.

Welcome Back, Martina!
Tuesday night Martina Hingis – you read that right: Martina Hingis! – headlines the evening session, playing doubles for the first time on the WTA in over five years. The 32-year-old, a recent inductee to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has paired with Daniela Hantuchova for much of the summer and brings her tennis game to New Haven, where she last played in 2002 in singles.

Caro’s Mysterious Tweet

Pressure is a Privilege 
“Billie Jean King texts me all the time before big matches and says that pressure is a privilege and I think that’s one of the strongest statements I’ve heard.”
Sloane Stephens on the wisdom she says stays with her the most

Boola, Part Two-ya!
In case you missed it earlier, our video featuring Boola, the Yale mascot, deserves a glance.

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