Net Generation Featured at Successful CT Open
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | August 28, 2018
NEW HAVEN, CT- The Connecticut Open once again served as the final stop before the US Open for top WTA players. Four of the top 10 women in the world competed at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University from August 17-25, but none were as good as the world’s No. 26 player, Aryna Sabalenka, who took home her first career WTA title.
Sabalenka, from Belarus, defeated Samantha Stosur, defending champion Daria Gavrilova, Belinda Bencic and Julia Goerges to reach the final against top-seeded Caroline Garcia. Sabalenka had no trouble getting by the world’s No. 6 Garcia, as she defeated her in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. The victory was her 11th in her last 13 matches, and it bumped her up six spots in rankings to No. 20 heading into the US Open.
“The 2018 Connecticut Open was a fantastic week of women's tennis culminating in the crowning of 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka as the new champion. ADVERTISEMENT Our players went above and beyond not only on the court to produce fantastic tennis, but off it, delivering time and time again for our sponsors, meeting our fans and giving back to the local community helping us to fulfill our non-profit mission,” said Tournament Director Anne Worcester.
Off the professional court, fans of all ages enjoyed a diverse range of entertainment, much of which was in partnership with USTA New England. USTA New England staff and volunteers were present at the organization’s Net Generation booth all week. All USTA members who stopped by were given a gift, and those who registered for Net Generation at the tournament received a free t-shirt and drawstring bag.
The week kicked off with the ShopRite Kids Day powered by Net Generation. Susan Riordan, USTANE’s tennis service representative from Connecticut, led an open, free, two-hour clinic that featured Net Generation games using red, orange and green balls. Tournament players Danielle Collins (USA) and Maria Sakkari (Greece) stopped by to take photos, sign autographs and hit with nearly 200 kids ahead of their first match.
In addition, Riordan led Net Generation demos on Center Court before the first match of each day (Monday-Saturday). She demonstrated Net Generation games with 16 local kids at a time. Immediately after, the kids escorted the players onto the court and took part in the coin toss.
“It was fantastic to be able to incorporate Net Generation into the CT Open in so many unique ways. Net Generation makes tennis more accessible, and we gave young players opportunities at the tournament they might not have otherwise had,” Riordan said.
Latino Day made headlines on Tuesday morning, as tournament player Monica Puig and tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez took part in Net Generation games with more than 100 kids. Nonprofit organizations such as Junta, in New Haven, and Progreso Latino, in Central Falls, RI, each brought young players interested in learning tennis from two of the most well-known Puerto Rican born players of all time.
Wednesday was Autism Awareness Day. Staff from New Haven organization, Chapel Haven, which serves adults with disabilities, led a successful adaptive tennis clinic.
“It’s remarkable the variety of events that the CT Open features. It’s truly encouraging knowing the diversity currently in the game and the constant efforts being made to improve it even more,” said Chantal Roche,” USTA New England Diversity and Inclusion Manager.
Roche also led a special celebration for those who participated in any of the Women in Tennis Together (WITT) events throughout the summer. Coaches and players were given free tournament admission Tuesday, and they heard stories from Worcester and Fernandez about their inspirational tennis experiences.
For the first time ever on Saturday, the tournament held a Beer Fest that featured more than 30 Connecticut breweries. The tournament also held Military Appreciation Day, Family Day and an exhibition between tennis legends John McEnroe and Todd Martin, among other events.
To view photos from the event, click here.
For more info on the CT Open, visit their website.