WTA World Tour: Connecticut Open Preview

The Connecticut Open

We take a look at the Connecticut Open which forms part of the WTA World Tour and gets underway on 20 August.  

The WTA Tour gears up for the US Open with a low key event in New Haven, Connecticut, one that is embraced by players for its relaxing atmosphere ahead of the maelstrom that is Flushing Meadows. With a purse of only around $711,000 dollars, this is clearly not an event that is designed to attract the elite players.

It is a quaint final preparation for the year’s final slam that nevertheless has some intriguing permutations. Defending champion and World Number 10 Agnieszka Radwankska will be looking to revitalize a flagging campaign while the likes of Petra Kvitova and Dominika Cibulkova seek to dethrone her. The tournament has also lost some lustre with withdrawal of both Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens.

WTA World Tour: Connecticut Open | 20 August- 26 August | Cullman-Heyman Tennis Centre

Past Winners
2016: Agnieszka Radwanksa
2015: Petra Kvitova
2014: Petra Kvitova
2013: Simona Halep
2012: Petra Kvitova

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The Favourites

Agnieska Radwanska
I wouldn’t get too much up on the form of Radwankska, who seems to be hitting a point in her career where perhaps she has gone as far as her abilities will let her. Yes, she did manage to win this event last year by beating the recently resurgent Elina Svitolina in the final, but after her 1st round bye she is set to take on Bouchard, who just simply must be due to wake from the cryogenic state she’s been in sooner or later. She is fortunate that Kristina Mladeanovic, a quarter-finalist at last year’s US Open, was eliminated early in the condensed 32 women draw. Mlladenovic also reached the quarters at Roland Garros this year and was a threat i this section of the draw. One should expect variable results giving that players will often utilize this as an experimental platform.

Petra Kvitova
Dominika Cibulkova heads the bottom half of the draw and will be hoping to gather some momentum heading into a time of the season that has proved profitable for her in the past. She- like Radwanska- has endured an extremely inconsistent season, with a win loss ratio of 19-17. That converts to 13-9 on the hardcourts, and she is the current WTA Tour final champion.  She is a specialist on these courts and will benefit from a draw that has remarkably opened up for her. I would have much rather backed Petra Kvitova in her side, but the former 2 time Wimbledon champion was casually dispatched by an unheralded Zhang in the first round. After a remarkable recovery following a Seles-esque stabbing incident, Kvitova has yet to convince that she will truly contend at the US Open this year.

One to Watch- Eugenie Bouchard
The beleaguered Canadian has experienced a remarkable dip in form of late that has seen her plummet unceremoniously to number 73 in the world rankings. It seems as if that entire public spat with a certain Maria Sharapova had an extremely negative effect on the former perennial top 10 Bouchard. Her last semi-final was in January at Sydney- on a hardcourt. And culminating in that 1st round defeat at Wimbledon, she went on a disastrous streak of 4 consecutive defeats. So why on earth choose her? She is a high quality player who just needs a confidence boost. Perhaps a low key event like this will suit her. Furthermore, she is due to play Radwanksa next, whose form hasn’t exactly been supreme.

A Decent Bet- Dominika Cibulkova 4/10 to beat Alize Cornet 17/10
Cornets’s 1st round, emphatic victory probably shortened her odds somewhat this for this match. Having said that, Cibulkova is the overwhelming favourite. I just can’t see her losing this week. The temptation at these fringe events is to try and spot some radical result to find gold, but I would rather accumulate wealth with tried and tested favourites that may seem more vulnerable than they are.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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