The main draw commenced at the Connecticut Open Presented by United Technologies on Sunday, with Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic topping Camila Giorgi of Italy, 6-2, 7-5. That was followed by Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania besting Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 7-7, 5-7, 6-2. Dominika Cibulkova stopped Tsvetana Pironkova in the day’s feature match—one that certainly lived up to its billing. The Slovakian beauty outlasted the 27-year-old Bulgarian 7-7(6). 6-7(5), 6-3.
Doubles play also began on Sunday. Chia-Jung Chuang of Taipei and Chen Liang of China teamed up to stop Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Andreja Klepac of Slovakia in straight sets, 6-3, 62, and Lauren Davis and Alison Riske of the United States toped Irina Falconi, also of the U.S., and Laura Robson of Great Britain, 6-2, 6-3. The qualifying rounds also concluded on Sunday with Yulia Putintseva of Russia, Roberta Vinci of Italy, Olga Govortsova of Belarus, Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, Polona Hercog of Slovenia and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine all advancing into the main draw. Rybarikova defeated Christina McHale from nearby Englewood Cliffs, N.J., in straight sets.
But the biggest news of the day did not happen on the court. Rather, the tournament took a rather significant hit when Simona Halep of Romania announced that she was withdrawing from New Haven due to a balky left leg, and has been replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko. Halep, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, had made two deep runs on the 1995 hardcourt circuit (Cincinnati, where she lost to Serena Williams in the finals, 3-6, 6-7 (5) last week, and Toronto, where she also reached the finals before losing to Belinda Bencic, 6-7 (5), 7-6, (4), 0-3 RET, two weeks ago), and did not another grueling week on a hard surface to affect her U.S. Open play. The U.S. Open—the crown jewel of pro tennis in this country—commences on Aug. 31 in New York. Halep will seeded second behind Williams in New York when seeds for the Open are announced on Friday.
“I am very sorry that I have to withdraw from New Haven. I love the tournament and obviously have great memories there having won the title before,” said Halep, who won the Connecticut Open in 2013. “I have had a tough few weeks that have left me with pain in my left leg and unfortunately I can’t force myself to play so close to the US Open.”
Singles play continues on Monday, with Genie Bouchard of Canada facing Vinci, American Madison Keys taking on Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, and wildcard entre Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic playing Daria Gavrilova of Russia in afternoon matches. Prime-time play includes No. 7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland taking on American Coco Vandeweghe, and Hercog facing Karolina Pliskova. Evening play begins not before 7 p.m. The Connecticut Open Presented by United Technologies is being held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven until August 29, and offers a total purse of $754,163 to its participants.