Cheat Sheet: NHO Set for Caro-Sloane Showdown

by Nicholas McCarvel

Wednesday started with top seed Sara Errani losing her first match of the tournament, but it ended with the three biggest stars remaining in the New Haven Open at Yale all registering wins on Day 4 of the tournament. Petra Kvitova won her sixth straight at the Connecticut Tennis Center and Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens set up a quarterfinal clash for Thursday night. What else did you miss? What do you need to look out for? Read on to find out.

IMG_103 copyCaro vs. Sloane, Part II
“I just remember at the handshake she had the most perfect smile… it was picture-picture. I thought to myself, ‘Is that what it looks like when you win?'” That’s Sloane Stephens’ memory of her loss to Wozniacki at Indian Wells in 2011, where the American said she felt she played “pretty well” [in a 6-3, 6-2 loss]. This time the American won’t be encountering the world No. 1 but instead the world No. 8, and Stephens is not far behind at No. 17. Stephens pegged her controlled aggression as the difference maker, saying she’ll need to attack Wozniacki to be successful. But who will the crowd be cheering for? It’s the four-time winner here against one of the new faces in American tennis. Hard to pick…

Simona’s Sizzling Summer
Simona Halep may have been a little overheated on court Wednesday, but the Romanian is the one that’s been on fire herself over the last four months. The 22-year-old is 26-5 in her last 31 matches, dating back to a semifinal run in Rome and also includes three WTA titles. Though she said she didn’t feel well at the beginning of her match against Carla Suarez Navarro, often fanning herself at the baseline, Halep would advance in three sets to advance to face Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinals.

So Long, Sara
It wasn’t a good week to be a top seed at the New Haven Open at Yale. After No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber lost on Tuesday it was top seed Errani who was dismissed a day later, losing to Makarova in straight sets. Defending champ Petra Kvitova, seeded third, is the highest-ranked seed remaining, joined by No. 4 Wozniacki. It marked the first time since Wimbledon that Errani had lost her first match at a tournament.

Tune In and Turn It Up
While Sloane is well known for her music-listening as she walks onto court, but what about four-time winner Wozniacki? “Yeah I listen to music – I listen to a little bit of everything, really. Right now Bruno Mars and Rihanna, Calvin Harris are at the top of the list.” Wonder if she’ll be jamming out to those hits before their match Thursday night?

Russian Revolution
Wednesday Ekaterina Makarova joined fellow Russian players Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quartefinals, marking the first time three women from that country has made it this far in New Haven since 2010, when Nadia Petrova, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva qualified for the final eight.

Can She Play With That?
Petra Kvitova took a moment to sign an oversized racket brought to New Haven by First Niagara. We’d love to watch Petra take a few practice swings with that, wouldn’t you?

Petra First Niagara

Would You Rather?
Sloane reveals if she’s a dog- or cat-person (there’s a twist!), if she’d pick to be an actress or politician and talks about a “traumatizing” roller skating accident from her childhood in this hilarious video.

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