NEW HAVEN & DALLAS, USA - Final US Open preparations take place in New Haven, Connecticut and Dallas, Texas this week, at the Premier-level New Haven Open at Yale and the International-level Texas Tennis Open.
Headlining the field over in New Haven are four Top 10 players - Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani - as well as another four players lurking just behind them in the No.11-20 range - Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria Kirilenko and Lucie Safarova.
Wozniacki has the potential of a special milestone this week. Having won the last four years in New Haven, if she wins again this year, she will become just the fourth player ever to win a WTA title five years running (after Chris Evert at Charleston, Steffi Graf at Hamburg and Martina Navratilova amazingly at three different tournaments - Eastbourne, Wimbledon and Chicago).
There are a slew of other former top players within the unseeded pack, but one of them might jump out a little bit more than the others - she finished 2011 in the Top 10 and looked headed for even bigger success in 2012 before back and ankle injuries sidelined her for most of the first seven months, but Andrea Petkovic is back, and the former World No.9 kicks off against a qualifier.
Over in Dallas there's also some Top 10 star power in the form of World No.7 Angelique Kerber, whose laser-like last 12 months started right there 12 months ago, where she made the semifinals, a result that propelled her to her breakthrough run to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open.