Kvitova, Bouchard Advance to Wimbledon Quarterfinals; Halep awaits Fourth Round Match

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Connecticut Open commits continue to have great success at the Grand Slams, as Petra Kvitova and Genie Bouchard have punched tickets to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, and Simona Halep looks to do the same on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at their performances thus far.

Genie Bouchard
It’s safe to say Canadian Genie Bouchard is having a stellar 2014. Following semifinal efforts at the Australian and French Opens, the 20-year-old now finds herself in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, thanks to a 7-6(5), 7-5 triumph over Alize Cornet on Monday. Her performance has been dominant, rolling to the quarterfinals without dropping a set, defeating the likes of Daniela Hantuchova and Andrea Petkovic along the way. Bouchard has only played six Grand Slams in her young career, advancing to the quarterfinals three times.

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova breezed through Rounds 1 and 2 in straight sets, but she found herself in a familiar position in Round 3 against Venus Williams, and familiar company. Williams, a five-time Wimbledon Champion and four-time Connecticut Open victor, was in another three-set tilt against Kvitova, a 2011 Wimbledon and 2012 Connecticut Open winner. In fact, four of their previous meetings had gone to three sets, but this two hour and 30 minute marathon might be the match of the tournament, and the Czech pulled off the victory 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-5. Kvitova made short work of Shuai Peng, 6-3, 6-2, in the fourth round, setting up a quarterfinal appearance.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep continues to impress in 2014, and her Wimbledon campaign is no different through three rounds. After taking down Teliana Pereira in the first round 6-2, 6-2, the Romanian needed three sets to eliminate Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. But the World No. 3 returned to form in an impressive 6-4, 6-1 win over Belinda Bencic is just 70 minutes. The 2013 Connecticut Open Champion most recently made a finals appearance at the clay courts of Roland Garros, and she’s found her footing on grass at the All England Club.

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5 Minutes With…Caroline Wozniacki

SB2_3227CO: Obviously you’ve had such great results in the past at New Haven, can you talk a little bit about what it’s like coming back to the tournament this year?

Wozniacki: It’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year and I love going back. I have had so many great memories on center court and the fans are amazing so I’m excited to be back.

CO: Do you feel like it’s a nice little calm before the New York storm?

Wozniacki: It definitely is. I feel like I’ll be in my own little bubble and work on a few things and just get ready for the US Open and this is a nice place to do that.

CO: So you’ve won four times here in New Haven, that’s a pretty good record, can you pick out one best memory?

Wozniacki: Hm, well I have a lot of good memories. But winning the first time was special because it was my second tournament win on the Tour and it was also my first big one and I beat quite a few much higher ranked players than myself and that was special.

CO: Well you’ve done a lot of fun things here…

Wozniacki: Yes! I’ve done A LOT of fun things! I remember playing tennis in the Yale Bowl, and they made this huge court and I had this huge racket and it was so cool.

CO: So New Haven is famous for their pizza, have you tried it?

Wozniacki: I actually have never tried it, can you imagine?!

CO: When you do have pizza, what are your favorite toppings?

Wozniacki: I just go for the plain ham and cheese and tomato sauce and sometimes I put on pineapple. Pretty simple.

CO: Yale is obviously a very well known school, if you could pick one favorite subject of yours what would it be?

Wozniacki: I used to love math, I know it’s crazy. But math was one of my favorites. I thought it was very simple. There was always one right result and I liked that.

CO: You come from a family of athletes, what’s your favorite sport outside of tennis?

Wozniacki: I love soccer, or futbol as its called! I also love watching swimming and gymnastics. In general I am very into sports. Oh, and basketball! I love basketball.

CO: If you had to choose one other sport to compete it, what would it be?

Wozniacki: Hmm…I would probably be best at swimming. I used to be a good swimmer. I had to choose between tennis and swimming.

CO: Lately you’ve been posting some pictures going running, what’s a good mix of songs that you like to listen too?

Wozniacki: I love to listen to Rihanna, Jason Derulo, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Bruno Mars and Adele. I know I’m kind of crazy but I actually like to listen to slower songs sometimes when I run. It just depends what mood I’m in.

CO: So are you more of an album person or do you like to mix it up?

Wozniacki: Definitely a mix, I like to mix it up!

CO: A couple of times when you won in New Haven you were ranked No. 1 in the world, what was the feeling like at that point in your career?

Wozniacki: Well obviously it’s something that I’ve always dreamed of. So to achieve that at such a young age was amazing and something that I definitely really appreciated and took in. Not many people can say they have been number one in the world so that was kind of cool.

CO: You’re a big ice cream fan…favorite flavor?

Wozniacki: Cookies n’ cream!

CO: Toppings?

Wozniacki: I like caramel and whipped cream. That’s my guilty pleasure.

CO: So no frozen yogurt?

Wozniacki: No frozen yogurt, it’s too healthy.

CO: Gelato?

Wozniacki: I love gelato. I’d probably go with strawberry for gelato though.

 

Thanks Caroline!

 

 

5 Minutes With…Eugenie Bouchard

Genie Bouchard

CO: Tell us a little about how you’re feeling going to New Haven for the first time.

Bouchard: Well, I’m looking forward to attending because I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s a great event.  What’s important is it will be a good warm-up for the US Open and the location is really close.  The courts are also very similar. Of course every tournament I play I want to do as well as I can but it is the week before a slam so it just seems to fit into place.

CO: New Haven is pretty famous for its pizza, what’s your perfect pizza?

Bouchard: I’m a pretty simple person, so probably the classic margarita would be my choice.  But if I could create my own I might add some mushrooms and salmon. That’s pretty random.  With the sauce and all of course too.

CO: Is that a Canadian thing?

Bouchard: No, I’m just addicted to salmon.   I could have it every single meal of the day.  I have it in my sandwiches and in my pasta so why not put it on my pizza?

CO: So Yale is in New Haven, and it is a well-known University.  Is there a subject that you are particularly good at?

Bouchard: I loved math.  That sounds really nerdy but I really loved it because you write the answer and it’s either right or wrong. In an English essay you can get points for this and points for that and it’s really up to the teacher’s discretion but math it’s right or wrong. You can get 100% on a math test, which was my goal every time. I often got it! It’s also the same in every single language, I just love the numbers.

CO: If you were hanging out at Yale with your college friends, what would you do with your spare time?

Bouchard: I would love to live the University life. All my friends now at my age, 20, are at Universities so I look at their posts on Facebook and I think I would love to experience that.  Of course I love my life and what I do more, but it looks so fun.  But I don’t know what that life is and I don’t know what they do with most of their time.  I guess they hang out and have cool parties and meet some cute boys.  I could do well with that!

CO: What’s the weirdest or coolest thing you’ve done in the last year on Tour?

Bouchard: Well the coolest by far was the helicopter I took in Acapulco, that’s been my best experience on tour and of my life.  I feel so lucky to be able to do such insane things. I took a helicopter to a yacht and then a yacht out to a floating tennis court in the middle of Acapulco Bay.  I was with Gregor Dimitrov and we hit on court and jumped in after and it was to promote the surface change from clay to hard.  The doors to the helicopter were open and I was holding onto my phone so tight I was so scared! But it was the best two hours I’ve had in awhile so I’m so grateful that tennis gives me opportunities like that.

CO: So off court, when you go shopping, what is your favorite thing to buy?

Bouchard: My recent obsessions are with bags and shoes… really girly I know.  I went shopping in London after the French and I went to Celine and got a bag and my go-to shoes are Christian Louboutin so I got a new pair of those. Really girly stuff. But I also like the random stuff as well like Urban Outfitters.  I love to go to that store and find the random hippie things they have on sale. I’m not hippie but it’s good to mix it up.

CO: What’s a weird app you have on your phone?

Bouchard: Oh god.  I have this app where you put a picture in it and you can make the person fat! You can make their stomachs and arms huge.  I have done it to a picture of me playing on court and given myself a huge stomach and arms.  It’s funny when you take a picture of someone else and send it to them to mess with them and tell them to drop a few pounds.

CO: So you’ve had a lot of success on the court in the last six months, has there been an experience with fans off-court yet that’s been crazy?

Bouchard: I just feel that I’m being recognized more and more. Especially going back to Canada. But I haven’t been in awhile so I don’t now if they still know me or if they’ve forgotten about me. I haven’t been back home since April, but after the French Open I went to go visit my friend in Switzerland and as I was getting off the train there were people who were screaming my name and I thought, oh my god, what is going on? There are these moments where I think it’s cool but I have to be careful and make sure what I’m wearing is cool so I don’t look sloppy.  But most of the time fans are so nice and they say good luck and that they’re proud of me and I appreciate that.

CO: What is your goal for the summer with more expectations and more eyes on you?

Bouchard:  Since the beginning of the year I have felt more eyes on me now, and being ranked higher than my opponent most of the time I feel more expectation to win. I try to ignore that of course, I really just try and focus on my goals and what I have to do. I have high expectations for myself and my ultimate goal is to win a grand slam whether that happens this slam or the next one or the next year after, I’m just working every day to improve to try and get there.  And for the summer, I just want to enjoy it. Being back in North America a little closer to home, and I’m really looking forward to the hard court season.

CO:  You speak French and English, if you could speak a third language what would it be?

Bouchard: I would love to speak Spanish. I think it’s very close to French so I tell myself that I can pretty much speak Spanish although I really can’t.  I think I can read it pretty well but training in South Florida Spanish would help a lot. And I like Latino music as well! So if I could just understand what they’re singing and their songs and be able to sing along that would make me very happy.

CO: Any food you can’t live without?

Bouchard: Bread.  Haha!

CO: So you’re not on the Djokovic diet?

Bouchard: Clearly Not. In Europe, the bread just kills me its so amazing. Especially in France, the baguettes. Baguette a day keeps the doctor away.

CO: Favorite playlist on your iPod?

Bouchard: I have a gym playlist that gets me motivated. I listen to that before matches to get pumped up. There has to be some Justin Beiber on there. And some Miley Cyrus.  Also Kanye, Jay-Z and a little bit of Beyoncé. Anything up-beat to get me moving and feeling like I am awesome.

CO: If you could be in any music video?

Bouchard: Wow, I mean the first thing that came to mind was Beyoncé’s single ladies.

CO: Can you do that dance?

Bouchard: No, but I would love to have that rhythm!

 

Thanks Genie!

Kvitová, Halep, Errani, Bouchard or Wozniacki? 

CO 5 player stitch

The 2014 Wimbledon Championships start in just a few days!  Which Connecticut Open commit will make the deepest run? Vote here:

5 Minutes With… Jim Courier

Tennis Player Jim Courier

Former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam Champion Jim Courier sat down with us to share his favorite memories, Wimbledon favorites, and what to expect in his upcoming duel with James Blake at the Connecticut Open Legends Event!

Connecticut Open: What was the most memorable match of your career?

Courier: The first tournament that I won was in Basel, Switzerland. I beat Stefan Edberg in five sets. I won my first ATP title in 1989, so that was certainly meaningful. The first Major that I won was the French Open in 1991. In 1992, being a part of the Davis Cup Championship team alongside Pete Sampras, Andre Aggasi and John McEnroe was really special as well. Those are a series of firsts for me that are memorable, and also being ranked World No. 1 for the first time, which was a pretty significant moment.

CO: As we transition into the grass-court season, what do you feel is the hardest part of making a move from clay to grass?

Courier: Probably the movement is the toughest part for everybody, because you’re used to the clay surface where you can slide comfortably and the ball pops up into a high strike zone. Then you move to a court where you almost have to tip-toe around when the grass is really green and fresh, otherwise you’ll slip and lose your footing. You have to be a lot lower, for a lower bounce. I think that’s a really difficult transition. The speed of the ball through the court is also different, as well as the height. So, it’s a tough move from the clay to the grass. I think the grass courts have gotten much better, and the bounces are much higher than they were historically. But it’s still difficult for everybody.

CO: Who’s the toughest player you’ve faced on clay?

Courier: The best clay-court players of my era were probably Thomas Muster and Sergi Bruguera, as far as difficulty goes.

CO: With Wimbledon approaching, who are your favorites?

Courier: It’s an interesting time. Federer just won in Halle, Germany, and he loves the grass, so he’s definitely in the conversation. Novak Djokovic is also in the conversation, along with Nadal and Murray. Your big four are still your big four. Then you have the younger guns like Grigor Dimitrov, who just won Queens, and Ernests Gulbus could play well. On the women’s side, it’s the Serena show. She’s certainly vulnerable, as we saw in Paris, but she’s the favorite. Then you go down the line with Sharapova, Azarenka if she’s healthy. All the usual suspects.

CO: You’re playing James Blake in front of his hometown crowd. What was your favorite place to play on Tour, and did you have a hometown event?

Courier: I really had two hometown events. Key Biscayne, Florida, was a hometown event because I’m from Central Florida. I also trained quite a lot in the California desert, so Indian Wells also felt like a home event.

CO: Why should fans come to see the Legends Event in New Haven this August?

Courier: I think they’re going to get a great night of entertainment. They know they’ll see high-quality WTA tennis, and after that they’ll see James and myself. We play well and know how to entertain the crowd. I think it’s a great combination of entertainment for the evening.

CO: What was something unique that you carried in your tennis bag?

Courier:  I always carried a book. These days everyone reads on tablets, but I always did that because you had so much down time waiting to play. That’s really about the only thing outside of the ordinary.

CO: Are you currently reading anything right now?

Courier: I’m not reading anything currently. Just reading the newspaper.

CO: Netflix or going to the movies?

Courier:  Both! I went to see 22 Jump Street on Monday, which was hilarious. But we definitely watch a lot of stuff on Netflix and cable at home too.

CO: If you hadn’t become a professional tennis player, what would you have wanted to be?

Courier: I would have wanted to be a professional baseball player. That’s the other sport I’ve always loved.

CO: Have you been to New Haven, and do you have a choice for pizza?

Courier: I haven’t done the pizza, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying it.

 

Thanks for your time, Jim!

5 Minutes With… Petra Kvitová

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This week we caught up with 2012 Connecticut Open Champion and 2013 Finalist, Petra Kvitová, currently World No. 6, before she heads to New Haven to compete in this year’s tournament. She told us a little bit about her pre-match routine, favorite app, guilty indulgences and more!

CO: You have been to two straight finals at the Connecticut Open, being victorious in one of those. What aspects of the tournament make it a great fit for you before the final major of the year?

Kvitová: I love Connecticut Open because I find it a stress-free event. It’s easy to get to the courts and hotel, the facilities are fantastic and the people running the tournament really make us feel comfortable. It’s nice and relaxed and I like that compared to New York…and I play good tennis there!

CO: When you are not in tournament-mode, have you been able to explore anything New Haven has to offer? Do you have any favorite restaurants in the area?

Kvitová: Every time I am there I am in tournament mode but I have been to a few restaurants and I like what I have seen. There is one sushi restaurant that I love near the hotel that I go back to many times called Thai Taste.

CO: What is the biggest advantage of being a left-handed player?

Kvitová: I think it can definitely help with the serve. My favourite serve is on the advantage court out wide to a right-hander’s backhand. I also think that it makes players think more and they are not used to playing against my spin and angles.

CO: What is your pre-match routine like?

Kvitová: I keep it very simple and relaxed. I get into my match kit, pick up my rackets from the stringer, put on new white grips every time, prepare my water and energy drinks, listen to music, warm up with my fitness trainer or coach, just stay calm and think about what I need to do in the match.

CO: Word on the street is you like to listen to pop and rock music. What is your favorite pre-match pump up song?

Kvitová: I have some songs before my matches and one of them is Safe and Sound for example.

CO: What is your favorite – or favorites – app(s)?

Kvitová: WTA live score app 🙂 and then of course facebook and twitter. 🙂

CO: It says on your WTA website’s bio that you enjoy playing basketball and volleyball – did you play these when you grew up? Do you have a favorite basketball team?

Kvitová: Yes, I played both of those sports when I was younger at school because I was tall, but tennis was my favourite. I don’t really have a favourite team.

CO: What is your favorite memory since being on the Tour?

Kvitová: It has to be winning Wimbledon of course. It was like a dream come true for me and I still remember the feeling after I served the ace down the middle. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I will remember it forever!

CO:Are you a salty or sweet person when it comes to food? What is your favorite indulgence?

Kvitová: I am a sweet person definitely. I like chocolate and some biscuits.

Halep Advances to First Grand Slam Final; Bouchard Continues to Impress

New Haven Open commits Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard played in the French Open semifinals today, with Halep advancing to the finals. Here’s a closer look at today’s action.

2014 French Open - Day Twelve

Simona Halep
Most Improved Player of the Year, top-five ranking and now Grand Slam finalist – we’re sensing a theme here. Simona Halep took down Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 7-6(4), setting up a date with Maria Sharapova in the finals on Saturday. The two met last month in a finals showdown in Madrid, with Sharapova notching a three-set victory to claim the title. But the Defending New Haven Open Champion and World No. 4 has been dominant in Roland Garros, having yet to drop a set in the tournament and could be peaking at just the right time. Halep continues to add plenty of firsts to her young but already impressive career, and “Grand Slam winner” is right within her grasp.

2014 French Open - Day Twelve

Genie Bouchard
The 20-year-old Canadian might have come up short against the four-time Major winner and 2012 French Open Champion Maria Sharapova, but the World No. 16 proved once again that she belongs on the big stage, following up her semifinal run at the Australian Open with another such showing at Roland Garros. In only her second stint at the French, she put on a dazzling display, losing only one set in the first four rounds and bouncing World No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Sharapova has been nearly invincible on clay this season, now sporting an 18-1 record with two titles and one tally from a third, but Bouchard showed signs of greatness. Momentum is on the rise, and with #GenieArmy as the backdrop, she could make plenty of noise in New Haven.

Halep, Errani, Bouchard Advance to Quarterfinals at French Open

New Haven Open commits Simona Halep, Sara Errani and Genie Bouchard have advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2014 French Open, while Petra Kvitova fell in a tough third-round match. Which of these three will make the deepest run? Read about their path to the quarterfinals and make sure to vote below!

The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2014 - Day Four

Simona Halep
(R1) d. Alisa Kleybanova 6-0, 6-2
(R2) d. Heather Watson 6-2, 6-4
(R3) d. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3, 6-0
(R4) d. Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3

Defending New Haven Open Champion and World. No. 4 Simona Halep has not dropped a set at this year’s French Open, continuing her strong showing in 2014, and remains the highest-seeded player left in the women’s draw. The Romanian defeated Alisa Kleybanova 6-0, 6-2 in Round 1 followed by a 6-2, 6-4 win over Heather Watson in Round 2 and a 6-3, 6-0 triumph against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in Round 3. Coming into Round 4, Halep had defeated Sloane Stephens only once in three matches, with her only triumph coming on clay. This match was no different, as she dispatched the American 6-4, 6-3, advancing to face Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.

The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Seven

Petra Kvitova
(R1) d. Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-2
(R2) d. Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-4
(R3) l. Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(3), 1-6, 7-9

World No. 6 and 2012 New Haven Open winner Petra Kvitova might have come up short in her Round 3 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova, but it was arguably the match of the tournament thus far. In a 3 hour and 13 minute marathon between Grand Slam Champions, Kvitova fired 49 winners but surrendered 65 unforced errors, as Kuznetsova advanced to her 10th French Open Round of 16. Kvitova picked up a 7-5, 6-2 win against Zarina Diyas in Round 1 and defeated Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-4 in Round 2.

The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2014 - Day Eight

Sara Errani
(R1) d. Madison Keys 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
(R2) d. Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-2, 6-4
(R3) d. Julia Glushko 6-0, 6-1
(R4) d. Jelena Jankovic 7-6(5), 6-2

After being pushed to three-sets in her opening match by 19-year-old American Madison Keys, the World No. 11 made short work of her competition in Rounds 2 and 3, besting Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-2, 6-4 and Julia Glushko 6-0, 6-1 in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively, setting up a match against World No. 7 Jelena Jankovic in Round 4. After an 81-minute tiebreak first set, Errani ran away in the second to defeat the Serb 7-6(7-5), 6-2 and will face Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals.

Nuernberger Versicherungscup - Day 4

Genie Bouchard
(R1) d. Shahar Peer 6-0, 6-2
(R2) d. Julia Goerges 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
(R3) d. Johanna Larsson 7-5, 6-4
(R4) d. Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard eases into the quarterfinal round of the French Open defeating eighth seeded Angelique Kerber in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, on Sunday in less than an hour. In the first two rounds, Bouchard breezed by Shahar Peer and then Julia Goerges, dropping only six total games in four sets. In the third round, she matched up against Johanna Larsson to win a closer yet definitive match at 7-5, 6-4. Bouchard will now advance to play Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarterfinals.