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Fans’ guide to the week: August 22-29

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Originally published on: 23/08/10 08:51

ATP Pilot Pen Tennis

When? August 22-28
Where? New Haven, USA
Event type: ATP World Tour 250
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $663,750
Draw size: S-48, D-16

2009 Champion: Fernando Verdasco

Sam Querrey is back at New Haven one year after his 2009 final appearance. After racking up four titles so far this year – on clay, grass and hard courts no less – the American has a lot of confidence going into tournament, and with no Fernando Verdasco to stop him Querrey has an even greater chance of going that one step further.

Mardy Fish has withdrawn after his Cincinnati exploits last week, but joining the California native in the field is two-time champ James Blake. Injury problems and poor form have seen the former world No.4 slip outside the top 100 for ten weeks now. At No.111 in the rankings, the American is a world away from the form that saw him win here twice, but after being awarded a wildcard can the great memories of 2005 and 2007 trigger great form for the former champ?

There’s an absence of Spaniards in the draw – a great shock after the summer they’ve had! Fernando Verdasco will not defend his title this year, no doubt going back to the drawing boards to concentrate on returning to form ahead of the US Open. Tommy Robredo, however, is on hand. After losing in the second round last year, the former world No.5 will hope to reach the latter stages of the tournament and give Spain even more to celebrate/brag about.

Young Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov has endured a sharp rise up the rankings and will look to contend for his first ATP World Tour title. Belgium’s Xavier Malisse looks revived this season, reaching the quarters at the Los Angeles Open and the semis in Washington. New Haven also welcomes the return of Croatia’s Mario Ancic, playing in his first tournament since May, and French force Richard Gasquet, Jeremy Chardy and Arnaud Clement also feature in a strong field in New Haven.

WTA Tour Pilot Pen Tennis

When? August 23-29

Where? New Haven, USA.

Event type: WTA Premier

Surface: Hard

Prize money: $600,000

Draw size: S-32, D-16
2009 Champion: Caroline Wozniacki

Assuming she makes it in time, Defending champ Caroline Wozniacki is the one to watch this week. The world No.2 is on the march to prove that three is the magic number, though things may be a little tricker this year as she kicks things off against young Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Wozniacki beat Pavlyuchenkova in New Haven last year and has also beaten her a following three times this year but the rising star secured a second career title in Istanbul earlier this month and reached the semis of Cincinnati losing out to Maria Sharapova. No doubt she will want to get one up on the Dane!

The absence of the Williams sisters leaves youngster Melanie Oudin as the highest-ranked American in the draw. After a fairytale quarter-final run at last year’s US Open, the pressure is on to repeat the same success that saw her rise within the top 50.

Likewise reigning French Open champion Francesca Shiavone seems to have left her game in the clay after recording some poor performances of late. The Italian hasn’t gone beyond the second round since Roland Garros and will face strong opposition from the likes of Daniela Hantuchova, Marion Bartoli and Elena Dementieva if she is to break the second round barrier.

The sun was shining brightly on Serb Ana Ivanovic in Cincinnati after she ploughed through to her first semi final since Rome earlier this year.

Playing against Kim Cljisters she contracted a foot injury after moving around an awkward forehand. She said later:“All of a sudden on that one shot I felt something crack a little bit. I was very scared.”

The Serb declined a wild card to last week’s Roger’s Cup in Montreal, but arrives in New Haven with the task of completing what she started in Cincinnati.

Also following on from successes are Wimbledon semi-finalists Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova and last year’s semi-finalist Italian Flavia Pennetta.

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