Getting to Know… The Favorites

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Simona Halep of Romania in action in her Ladies Singles first round match against Jana Cepelova of Slovakia during day two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

By Nick McCarvel

With less than 10 days to go until the start of the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies our focus this week turns not to the women who could spring a surprise the rest of the field in New Haven, but a trio of top seeds that are expected – more than anyone else – to take the tournament by storm.

Simona Halep, 23, Romania | Rank: 3
Champion here in 2013, that was the same year that the Romanian Halep had a monumental breakthrough, climbing from outside the top 60 to finish the year inside the top 15. Halep has been as high as No. 2 in the world, thanks to a savvy game made up of a mix of power and craft that got her to the French Open final a year ago, as well as the Wimbledon semifinals a few weeks later. She remains a lethal threat wherever she plays, having won three titles already this year.

Did you know? Is currently the most famous athlete in Romania, and perhaps the most so since gymnast Nadia Comaneci.

Petra Kvitova, 25, Czech Republic | Rank: 4
Kvitova is the defending champion at the Connecticut Open, the Czech left hander having won here in 2012, as well. When her game is connecting she’s one of the most forceful hitters on tour, demonstrated in her two championship runs at Wimbledon (2011 and 2014). Kvitova cuts a deep, booming ball on the court, and also possesses one of the most dangerous serves. She’s 12-2 in her career in New Haven.

Did you know? Kvitova often yells out “pojd!” on court, Czech for “come on!”

Ekaterina Makarova, 27, Russia | Rank: 12
Makarova, a Russian, is another left-hander to fear. She made the semifinals at the US Open a year ago, as well as at the Australian Open in January. She’s played in 32 consecutive majors, dating back to 2007, and has two Grand Slam trophies on the doubles court, including the 2014 US Open. Makarova is a baseliner by trade, both a solid offensive player and a defender that can play ball after ball after ball.

Did you know? Makarova’s favorite food is pizza. She has plenty of options when she visits New Haven!

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