Top 10 Moments in Pilot Pen History
Steffi Graf, in her only Pilot Pen appearance, was planning to skip the event until her coach insisted she needed the extra preparation for the upcoming U.S. Open. Graf didn't drop a set in four matches and won the inaugural New Haven women's title in 1998.
Venus Williams begins run of four straight titles by topping Monica Seles in semifinals and Lindsay Davenport in finals to win 1999 title. She would go 16-0 and drop only one set in her 4-peat.
Amelie Mauresmo and Henrieta Nagyova played in a first-set tiebreaker which at the time ranked as the sixth-longest in tour history. Mauresmo won 16-14 and won the second-round match 7-6, 6-3 in 2001. Perhaps worn out by the tiebreaker that would never end, Mauresmo would fall to Davenport in the quarterfinals.
Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport meet in 2001 final, one of three meetings between the two future Hall of Famers at the Connecticut Tennis Center. Bucking the trend for noncompetitive finals, Williams outlasted Davenport 7-6, 6-4 to win her third straight tournament in New Haven.
Anna Smashnova dropped the first set 6-0 and was down 5-1 before rallying for a 0-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory in a 2003 classic which Pilot Pen Tennis President and CEO Mike Davies said was one of the best matches he had ever seen. Smashnova, then going by her married name Pistolesi, recorded her second straight win over a top 20 player. Her run ended with a three-set loss to eventual champion Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.
The post-match festivities were more engaging than Capriati's 2003 coronation. A hobbling Lindsay Davenport retired down 6-2, 4-0 in the final. During the post-match ceremony Capriati asked for, and was granted a can of Michelob Ultra, the tournament sponsor. She proceeded to take a swig of the sponsor beer to the delight of the tournament hierarchy, the fans and of course Michelob Ultra.
Her tennis stay might have been brief with opening-match losses in both singles and doubles, but the hoopla caused by Maria Sharapova's appearance in 2004 was something to behold. Sharapova had previously agreed to make a public promotional appearance at the 2004 Pilot Pen. Little did she or tournament organizers realize that it would come right after the 17-year-old shocked the tennis world by winning Wimbledon.
The 2004 championship match may have lacked in the name recognition department, but Elena Bovina and Nathalie Dechy more than made up for it with one of the top matches in the 2004 WTA season. Bovina beat her former doubles partner and the blistering heat to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. It was the only three-set women's final in Pilot Pen history.
The fifth time was the charm for Davenport. Making her fifth finals appearance in the last seven years, Davenport finally captured that elusive Pilot Pen title. Davenport defeated Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 6-4 in the 2005 final and didn't drop a set in her four matches.
Martina Navratilova never played singles in the Pilot Pen but she did compete in doubles in 2000, 2002 and 2004. Her last appearance was unforgettable as the living legend drew crowds of loyal supporters to doubles.
Teaming with Lisa Raymond, Navratilova advance to the finals before losing in three sets to Nadia Petrova and Meghann Shaughnessy. Her 2000 appearance was her first at the U.S. event since the 1995 U.S. Open.