Puig, Riske, Power Through to Main Draw at New Haven Open
Monica Puig had a vocal crowd of Puerto Rican supporters in the stands today as she dispatched French phenom Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the main draw at the New Haven Open. The self-styled “Boricuan-style” player, Puig is in the unusual position of having had to qualify for a premier level tournament in which she knocked off its top seed, Sara Errani, at Wimbledon.
Alison Riske also impressed, simply routine-ing the off-form Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-2. Wickmayer continues to disappoint, while Riske continues to march forward toward the US Open. Riske, after dominating the grass earlier in the summer, seems to have found her form on the hard courts at a very fortuitous time. She needed three sets to win in each of the first two qualifying rounds, but there was little drama in today’s final.
Stefanie Voegele, Karin Knapp, Ayumi Morita and Anna Schmiedlova also advanced to first round play.
The New Haven qualies must be the strangest thing I witness as a fan. Unlike other tournaments, where the players all neatly fit into the 100-300 range, there are routinely a bevy of top 50 players and top 500 players squaring off for a spot in the draw. It all has to do with the US Open, of course. You either play here or you play US Open qualifiers. So it is that high-ranked players like Yanina Wickmayer, who have already been granted a spot in the 128 woman field at Flushing Meadows but must scrap through three tough matches to make the field of 32 at New Haven. The end result for fans is unusually big-name qualifying matches.