Getting to Know… Part II: The Lurkers

August 19, 2014, New Haven, CT: Flavia Pennetta hits a backhand during a match against Flavia Pennetta on day five of the 2014 Connecticut Open at the Yale University Tennis Center in New Haven, Connecticut Tuesday, August 19, 2014. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open)

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Connecticut Open)

By: Nick McCarvel

It’s officially August, which means it’s officially (almost!) time for the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, which starts August 21 at the Tennis Center at Yale.

A week ago we got to know the young players who will be hungry to make their mark in New Haven this summer, and this week we continue that trend, except with a batch of more seasoned individuals, each one having the ability to shake up the draw should she be in form.

In part two of our four-part getting-to-know-you series, let’s meet the lurkers.

Timea Bacsinszky, 26, Switzerland | Rank: 13
Behind perhaps only Serena Williams in terms of success on tour this year, the affable Bacsinszky has had a resurgent and inspiring 2015 season. Having almost quit the sport two years ago, she has won two titles (both in Mexico) and sits at a career-high No. 13 in the world after making the French Open semifinals and Wimbledon quarterfinals. Bacsinszky’s all-court game is a beauty to watch, and she matches the tour’s baseliners with her power and speed, making her a dangerous opponent for any top star.

Did you know? Bacsinszky worked in service jobs in hopes of going into hotel management while briefly stepping away from tennis in 2013.

Flavia Pennetta, 33, Italy | Rank: 26
The Italian has long been a player feared on tour, having reached a career high ranking of No. 10 in the world in 2009. She won the biggest title of her career five years later, last year in Indian Wells, and has 10 WTA singles trophies overall. She’s been to the quarterfinals of a major six times, including three times in the last two years, when she’s played some of the best tennis of her career.

Did you know? Pennetta dates ATP World Tour player and fellow Italian Fabio Fognini.

Alizé Cornet, 27, France | Rank: 25
Cornet famously beat Serena Williams three (three!) times last year, including a massive upset in the third round of Wimbledon. The Frenchwoman has four WTA titles to her name, most recently in Poland last year. Cornet is a never-say-die baseliner, tracking ball after ball down and has a penchant for flair (and entertainment) on the court.

Did you know? Cornet is a cat and dog lover: She has a cat named Papyrus and a dog named Andy.

Dominika Cibulkova, 26, Slovakia | Rank: 61
“Domi,” as she’s affectionately known on tour, is making her way back from an Achilles injury that required surgery in March of this year. The petite, sturdily built Slovakian made a surprise run to the Australian Open final in 2014, finishing runner up to the now-retired Li Na. This will be her seventh appearance in New Haven.

Did you know? Domi is constantly yelling “Pome!” to pump herself on court. If you hear it, it means “Come on!”

Sara Errani, 28, Italy | Rank: 16
Another short but fearless player, Errani had her breakout in 2012, when she made the French Open final before losing to Maria Sharapova. She became a top 20 mainstay thereafter, and has compiled eight career singles crowns while winning 25 doubles titles, including five Grand Slams. If there is a human backboard on tour, it’s Errani, who bounds around the court and covers every angle imaginable.

Did you know? Errani is an expert Candy Crush player! She is constantly waiting for the game to add more levels to keep up with her.

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