NHO: The Wild Week That Was

by Nicholas McCarvel

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From a mystery mascot to Simona Halep‘s shocking run to the title, it’s been a wild and memorable week at the New Haven Open at Yale. We’ve tracked and chronicled much of it on the blog. Here, a look back at the week that was.

Ice Tennis, Anyone?
She wasn’t the New Haven champion this year (though she’s won here four times in the past), but Wozniacki was made an honorary Yale Bulldog Friday night by NCAA championship hockey team (courtesy of captain Andrew Miller), who presented her with a No. 1 jersey complete with her name on the back. How good is your puck work Caro? Maybe we’ll test that out next year.

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Martina Makes a Comeback
It was short-lived, but oh how awesome it was to see Martina Hingis back on the doubles court in New Haven. She and partner Daniela Hantuchova were taken out by doubles specialists Vania King and Cara Black in the first round, but not before Hingis thrilled the crowd with some of her throwback craft.

5 Minutes With…
Simona Halep. And Petra Kvitova. And Alison Riske. And Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Over the week’s time, we sat down with a healthy collection of the stars of the New Haven Open for quirky one-on-one interviews mostly about things other than tennis.

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What celebrity would Halep spend a day with? What’s Liezel Huber‘s funniest on-court moment in her career? Riske goes shopping where, exactly? And Nastia is really good at… chess? That and more in this funny and revealing series.

Who Ya, Boola?
Long before the players arrived for this year’s tournament, the Yale mascot Boola was hitting the practice court – and that dog can play some good tennis. So who invaded Boola’s body? Check out this video to find out:


Around the Grounds We Go
From the food court to courtside to rain delays, art auctions and table tennis, we did our best to bring you the flavor of the New Haven Open in blog-sized bits. Perhaps one of the fun moments of the week? Watching top seed Sara Errani play some top-notch ball … on the ping pong table.

The Ladies of ESPN
ESPN and Tennis Channel were on site covering the tennis for parts of the week, but there were also a couple of special ESPN guests in Sage Steele (of SportsCenter fame) and Prim Siripipat (an ESPN anchor) at the Connecticut Tennis Center. Steele spoke at a New Haven Chamber of Commerce event and Siripipat hosted an aetna panel on healthy living for young girls. We chatted with both of them, doing a video Q&A with Sage and learning all about Siripipat’s past (and nicknames for Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, high school classmates of hers).

‘Most Likely To’ … The Top Stars Version
Who’s the funniest of our top four seeds? What about the most likely to be an actress? We asked those questions and more from Sara ErraniAngelique KerberPetra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki. What’d they have to say in response? Watch and see:


Oh Right, and Tennis!

There was plenty of tennis that happened throughout the week in New Haven, too. Simona Halep continued her fine form with a 6-2, 6-2 master performance over Petra Kvitova in the final. It was an almost-did week for four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki, who produced one of the tournament’s matches to remember in a blockbuster quarterfinal against Sloane Stephens. Sloane, along with fellow American Alison Riske, represented the red, white and blue well, winning a combined three matches (and Riske pushing Kvitova to a deciding set).

It was upset city for the tournament’s top two seeds, Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber, both who lost their opening matches after receiving opening-round byes. Those upsets were caused by two Russians – Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina – who along with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova became represented their country the best here since 2010, when four Russians made the final eight.

Last, Not Least
Doubles winner Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie, who won just the fourth tournament they played in together.

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