Connecticut Open (tennis)
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The Connecticut Open was a professional tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It was a WTA Premier Tournament on the WTA Tour until its final edition in 2018. From 2005 through 2010 the tournament was also part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the ATP Tour. It was held annually at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center in New Haven, Connecticut, United States, just before the fourth and last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open.
|Defunct tennis tournament|
|Location||New Haven, Connecticut|
|Category||ATP World Series|
ATP International Series
ATP World Tour 250 series
WTA Tier IV
WTA Tier III
WTA Tier II
|Surface||SportMaster Sport Surfaces/Outdoors|
The tournament was created in 1948 as the U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships and first played in Sacramento, California, in the United States. Over the twenty years of its first run the event was moved regularly to several U.S. locations including San Francisco; Berkeley, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington; La Jolla, San Diego, California; and Denver, Colorado. Among the winners of the event were Doris Hart, Darlene Hard, Nancy Richey, Rosemary Casals, Billie Jean King, and Jane Bartkowicz. The event was discontinued in 1969 following the beginning of the Open Era.
In 1988 the United States Tennis Association (USTA) decided to reinstate the tournament. The first edition of the new U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships were held that year in San Antonio, Texas, first as part of Tier IV of the WTA Tour, then as an upgraded Tier III event in 1990. The championships were first sponsored by Post Cereals in 1990 and by Acura from 1992 to 1994. Over the first years of its second run the tournament had several past or future World No. 1s among its champions, such as Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, and Martina Navratilova. After the event was moved to Stratton Mountain, Vermont, for the 1993 and 1994 editions, conflicts with the 1996 Summer Olympics prevented the tournament from being held in 1995 and 1996. In 1997 the event returned again, now within Tier II and first taking place in Stone Mountain, Georgia, then in its current location of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1998 under the new sponsorship of Pilot Pen. In the first years of its run in New Haven the event saw its competition dominated by Lindsay Davenport (four-time runner-up in New Haven, one previous time in Stone Mountain, and 2005 champion) and Venus Williams (four-time champion from 1999 to 2002).
When it arrived in New Haven in 1998, the Pilot Pen International became the second tennis tournament of New Haven, alongside the men's Pilot Pen International, first created in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1973 as the Volvo International, and moved to Connecticut in 1990, where it took Pilot Pen sponsorship in 1997. When the men's event was cancelled in 1999, the women's Pilot Pen tournament remained the only one of the region until 2005, when the USTA decided to purchase the men's tournament of Long Island, New York.
Creating the first large joint ATP–WTA tournament leading to the US Open, the 2005 merge allowed the Pilot Pen Tennis, which also became the last event of the US Open Series, to continue to attract top players, with Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Justine Henin, and Nikolay Davydenko winning the event in recent years.
In 2014, the New Haven Open at Yale was renamed the Connecticut Open.
In 2019, it was announced that the Connecticut Open will discontinue after 21 years on the WTA Tour due to a lack of funding. The tournament's sanction was sold and will be used to stage an event in Zhengzhou, China following the 2019 US Open.
- From 1948 through 1950, the U.S. Women's Hardcourt Championships were a combined event with the Pacific Coast Championships.
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