The men’s and women’s fields at the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament, to be held Aug. 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven, have been announced, with Mardy Fish spotlighting the men’s side of the bracket. Fish, currently ranked No. 49 in the world, is a two-time finalist and fan favorite at the Pilot Pen. The Edina, Minn., native was beset by injuries last summer, but has rebounded nicely and last week won the fifth title of his career at Newport. By winning that title, Fish now has career wins on all surfaces (indoor carpet, indoor hardcourt, outdoor hardcourt, clay and grass), a rarity in today’s game.
On the women’s side, Melanie Oudin, who had a nice run in last year’s US Open, has committed to New Haven. The then-relatively unknown 18- year old became the Cinderella story of the Open with her stunning run to the quarterfinals upsetting Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva in tough three set matches. Currently the third ranked American woman at World No. 40, Oudin has reached the semifinals at Paris, and the quarterfinals at Memphis, Ponte Vedra Beach and Charleston in WTA events this year.
Oudin’s American male compatriots are extremely familiar to Connecticut tennis fans. Sam Querrey, 23 years-old and currently ranked No. 19 in the world, has had a strong 2010 season, winning titles at Memphis, Belgrade, and in London. In 2009 Querrey had the best season of his career highlighted by a strong summer hardcourt season that included a victory in Los Angeles and finals appearances at Newport, Indianapolis and at the Pilot Pen, where he captured the 2009 Olympus US Open Series title.
A host of international stars who have won on Tour this year round out both player fields. On the women’s side, French Open champion World No.8 Francesca Schiavone, the defending French Open champion, No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, No. 17 Yanina Wickmayer, No. 22 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, No. 26 Alisa Kleybanova, No. 28 Alexandra Dulgheru, No. 30 Alona Bondarenko, and No. 31 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have won WTA titles this year. Among the men, No. 22 Thomaz Bellucci, No. 24 Marcos Baghdatis, No. 47 Richard Gasquet, No. 48 Sergiy Stakhovsky, and No. 54 Juan Ignacio Chela have coped titles on the ATP Tour.
In addition to the up-and-comers—a signature of the Pilot Pen field over the years—veterans like No. 14 Marion Bartoli and No. 25 Daniela Hantuchova will be making their sixth and ninth appearances in New Haven and rising stars Petra Kvitova (World No. 29) and Tsvetana Pironkova (World No. 35), who both reached the semifinals at Wimbledon just a few weeks ago, add to the depth of the tournament. Not to mention two-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, the fourth ranked women’s player in the world, who earlier committed to New Haven in an effort to join Venus Williams as the only players to win three straight championships. (Williams won four straight years in New Haven: 1999-2002.)
“While there are still eight wild cards left to name over the next five weeks, the 2010 Pilot Pen player fields are off to a strong start, contrasting rising stars like Caroline Wozniacki, Melanie Oudin and Sam Querrey with the exciting resurgence of veterans such as Mardy Fish and Francesca Schiavone,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director.
The full fields for the Pilot Pen are set, with exception of wildcards, which can be awarded up until August 19, and qualifier spots. The tournament has four men’s and women’s main draw wildcards to distribute and there are four spots in both main draws for advancing qualifiers. The tournament offers a combined $1.35 million purse ($750,000 men; $600,000 women).
The Pilot Pen Tennis Championship is a US Open Series event and one of the rare non-Grand Slam events to feature both men’s and women’s brackets. This year’s tournament will be held Aug. 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. For more information, call 888-99-PILOT or visit www.pilotpentennis.com.
The tournament will be televised on ESPN2 and CBS.
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