RISING AMERICAN STAR SLOANE STEPHENS MOVES INTO NEW HAVEN OPEN MAIN DRAW;
FELLOW AMERICAN BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS GRANTED WILDCARD
Americans Nicole Gibbs, Lauren Embree, Sachia Vickery and Lena Litvak
Receive Qualifying Wildcards
NEW HAVEN, Conn., August 15, 2012 – Rising American star Sloane Stephens has moved into the main draw after a withdrawal by another player due to injury, and fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands has been granted a wildcard into the main draw of the 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester.
Due to the withdrawal of Kaia Kanepi (Achilles injury), Stephens moves into the New Haven Open main draw and will be the third-highest ranked American in the field. The 19-year-old from Florida has had a breakout year in 2012, reaching the fourth round of the French Open and the third round at Wimbledon. She currently sits at her career-high ranking of No. 49 in the world. This will be Stephens’ first appearance in the main draw of the New Haven Open.
Mattek-Sands, the “Lady Gaga of Tennis,” is known for her audacious outfits and exciting tennis game. The American reached the 2010 New Haven Open round of 16 as a qualifier and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 30 in the world in July 2011. On the doubles court, she owns 10 career WTA titles as well as the 2012 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Horia Tecau.
In addition, four other Americans were granted wildcards into the New Haven Open qualifying tournament, including reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion Nicole Gibbs; University of Florida standout Lauren Embree, who helped her school capture the NCAA team championship this year; 2011 Orange Bowl semifinalist and 17-year-old Sachia Vickery; and Lena Litvak, who received an automatic wildcard with her victory at the Yale Summer Championships.
“Sloane has had an amazing year thus far and Bethanie is always a fan-favorite,” said Worcester. “We’re looking forward to having these two American stars compete in the main draw of the New Haven Open. Our four American Qualifying Wild Cards - Nicole, Lauren, Sachia and Lena - all have a great opportunity to continue in the legacy of qualifiers doing extremely well at the tournament. Any one of them could make a run to the finals, just as qualifiers such as Agnes Szavay and Petra Cetkovska did in 2007 and 2011, respectively.”
Log on to www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366 for more information and to purchase tickets. Also, make sure to join New Haven Open on Facebook & Twitter for tournament updates, contests and more.
About New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara
New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara has always been much more than a tennis tournament; it is a leading example of leveraging a large-scale international sporting event to generate $26 million in regional economic impact and to build community pride, spirit and engagement, especially among youth. The 2011 tournament featured World No. 1 and now four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, and three Grand Slam champions Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The women’s-only WTA event is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The New Haven Open is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and also broadcast around the world. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366.
About First Niagara
First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with nearly 430 branches, approximately $35 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 6,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.
About Emirates Airline US Open Series
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.
Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.