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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2007, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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2007 Pilot Pen

Williams' Injury A 'Bitter Blow' To Pilot Pen Williams' Injury A 'Bitter Blow' To Pilot Pen By Pat Eaton-Robb , Associated Press Writer Published on 8/18/2007 in Home »Sports News »Professional Tennis New Haven — The Pilot Pen Tennis tournament got another dose of bad luck on Friday.
Slotted the week before the U.S. Open, a week many players take off to rest, the New Haven tournament lost its biggest star Friday when eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams withdrew because of a nagging thumb injury. She still intends to play in the U.S. Open, said Williams' agent Jill Smoller.
“Her status (for the U.S. Open) remains the same — planning on playing,” Smoller said Friday. “She just needs more time.”
Williams accepted a wild-card entry last week into the tournament that begins Sunday, hoping to use it as a testing ground for the U.S. Open. She quickly became the centerpiece of the Pilot Pen's marketing campaign, with tournament director Anne Worcester likening her impact to golf's Tiger Woods and marveling at skyrocketing ticket sales.
“I tried to have a full practice, hoping that my thumb would feel better, but unfortunately, it is still not 100 percent and I am not able to play at the level that I had hoped,” Williams said in a statement. “I am frustrated and extremely disappointed that I won't be able to play at the Pilot Pen.”
Mike Davies, president and chief executive of the tournament, called Williams' exit a “bitter blow.”
“As far as we are concerned it was one of the best things to happen to this tournament in 10 years to have someone of Serena's status to enter,” he said.
Refunds will not be issued, Davies said.
Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion who won the Australian Open this year, has not played since hurting her left thumb, wrist and calf during her run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Her elder sister, Venus Williams, won the Pilot Pen four straight years, from 1999-2002, becoming the first woman to win the same tournament four years in a row since Monica Seles did it in the Canadian Open from 1995-98.
The women's field is now headlined by No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova; No. 10 Daniela Hantuchova; No. 11 Marion Bartoli; and No. 17 Elena Dementieva.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport will play doubles, marking her return to the tour since September 2006. She had her first child in June. Davenport is paired with Lisa Raymond in New Haven.
“The goal of mine is to return and play singles,” said Davenport who was holding her two-month son, Jagger Jonathan Leach, in her arms during a news conference Friday. “I feel like I'm going at it with a singles player mentality, even though in this tournament I'm playing doubles, hopefully in some time I'll be able to play singles again.”
There are not many big names in the men's draw, which was made a bit weaker this week when top-ranked British player Andy Murray withdrew because of a wrist injury.
“While some of the top women are willing play the week before a Grand Slam, the top men have not been willing to play,” Worcester said.
There are three top-10 players in New Haven. Connecticut-native and 2005 champion James Blake, ranked No. 8, will be the top attraction, along with No. 7 Tommy Robredo and defending champion Nikolay Davydenko. The Russian, ranked fifth in the world, comes in with controversy swirling around him.
The ATP is investigating suspicious betting patterns on a match in Poland between low-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina and Davydenko, who retired in the third set with an injury. “As far as I know that investigation will not be complete before the U.S. Open, so Nikolay will be playing here,” Worcester said. The tournament begins Sunday and goes through Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

Regional Total 2 images. By Ap File Photo • Serena Williams, who received a wildcard to the Pilot Pen tennis tournament in New Haven next week, withdrew Friday due to a thumb injury. By Fred Beckham • Lindsay Davenport holds her son, Jagger Jonathan Leach, as she speaks with reporters Friday afternoon at the Pilot Pen in New Haven, where she will play doubles.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2007, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 Pilot Pen

Top 10 Moments in Pilot Pen History

08/14/2007

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• 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.

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• 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.


http://www.nhregister.com/site/news....d=498516&rfi=6
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