Who’s Who at the Connecticut Open: Part 2

By Nicholas McCarvel

With the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies creeping closer and the US Open Series officially underway, we’re giving you a sneak peek at the world class tennis players that will descend on the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale August 15-23. For our second installment, we look at two Czech veterans and a rising teenage star from the WTA.

Strycova

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, CZE
Rank: No. 32 Age: 28

At 28, Zahlavova Strycova had a career-best result at a Grand Slam earlier this month with a quarterfinal run at Wimbledon. She beat Li Na and four-time New Haven winner Caroline Wozniacki before bowing out to countrywoman Petra Kvitova, the eventual Wimbledon champ. Zahlavova Strycova owns one career title at Quebec City in 2011, and has reached four finals, as recently as Birmingham in June. Zahlavova Strycova reached a career-high No. 30 in the world following her run at Wimbledon. She’s making her second appearance in Connecticut, but the first since 2005, when she lost in qualifying.

Koukalova

Klara Koukalova, CZE
Rank: No. 34 Age: 32

Ranked as high as No. 20 in the world last April, the Czech veteran was a semifinalist in New Haven a year ago, also losing to Kvitova after she upset seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. Koukalova has three career titles, most recently in Florianopolis, Brazil, as well as 12 career final appearances. She has two fourth-round appearances in Grand Slams, making it that far at the French Open in 2010 as well as at Wimbledon in 2012. This will be Koukalova’s third trip to Connecticut.

Rybarikova

Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
Rank: No. 35 Age: 25

The Slovakian owns four career titles, three of them coming on U.S. hard courts, the most recent in Washington DC last summer, where she beat former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic in the final. She has twice been to the third round of the US Open. Rybarikova is making her first trip to Connecticut since 2010. In 2009, she qualified for the main draw before making a run to the quarterfinals, beating Schiavone and Marion Bartoli en route.

Svitolina

Elina Svitolina, UKR
Rank: No. 36 Age: 19

Just weeks ago the 19-year-old from Ukraine became the first teenager on the WTA to own multiple titles when she won the Baku stop. This year alone she has wins over Genie Bouchard, Sloane Stephens, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Svitolina has reached a career-high No. 33 in the world earlier this year, which also included a run to the third round of the Australian Open. She makes her second trip to Connecticut after qualifying last year and losing in the first round.

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