Wozniacki takes 4th straight title in New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — No one has ever beaten Caroline Wozniacki in New Haven, and Hurricane Irene couldn’t do it either.

The world’s top-ranked player stayed ahead of the storm Saturday and won her fourth consecutive New Haven title, defeating Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 6-1 in the finals.

Wozniacki, the top seed at next week’s U.S. Open, improved to 17-0 at Yale.

[+] EnlargeCaroline Wozniacki

Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesCaroline Wozniacki won her fourth straight New Haven title, tying Venus Williams’ record.

“I just have a good momentum every time I play here,” she said. “The balls are good. The tournament is nice. You always play better when you like to be around a tournament. I’m really pleased to be in this situation — win four straight times in a row, it’s really unbelievable.”

Cetkovska, who is ranked 40th, had won seven consecutive matches since the start of qualifying. She beat fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, fourth-seeded Marion Bartoli and second-seeded Li Na. But she couldn’t stop Wozniacki, who also is the top seed at the U.S. Open.

“I’m really happy to be here, to go so long, so far in the tournament,” Cetkovska said. “Now when we are in the final, we want to always go further. So obviously I wanted to try to win, to do even better. But today it was just a little bit too much. Caroline, she’s just playing great.”

The match, moved to 1 p.m. from 5 p.m. to avoid Irene, was played outdoors at the Connecticut Tennis Center. It included a 1 hour, 40 minute rain delay in the first set.

After that band of rain moved through the area, officials said they believed they would have a window of about 1 hours for tennis, but had made contingency plans to move the match into the nearby Cullman-Heyman indoor tennis center, just in case.

The match lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes.

“I was like, ‘OK it looks like it’s going to start raining, let’s go indoors so we can go to New York,’ ” Wozniacki said. “We got a window and were able to finish. It was nice to play outside, in front of the crowd.”

It began raining again just after the awards ceremony concluded.

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Need the scores from any match played in today’s tournaments? Results

Wozniacki’s four consecutive championships ties the New Haven record set by Venus Williams from 1999 to 2002. This year, the tournament changed its name from the Pilot Pen and became a WTA-only event.

Wozniacki broke Cetkovska six times, including in the final game of the first set, and three times in the second set. It was the Danish star’s sixth tournament title this year, but the first since winning in Copenhagen in June. The 26-year-old Cetkovska was playing in her first WTA final.

“It was important for me to start well in the second set, just to get a little bit of a lead,” Wozniacki said. “Then I just kept my focus, didn’t let her back in.”

Wozniacki’s boyfriend, Rory McIlroy, spent the week with her on the Yale campus and the U.S. Open golf champion watched the match from the player’s box.

“When you have that little bit of confidence, that little bit of belief in yourself, it can take you a long way,” he said after the match. “It looked like Caroline found that belief and confidence this week and it obviously is great prep going into the Open next week.

The Danish star played with her right thigh wrapped, after feeling a twinge during Friday’s semifinals. She said it would not affect her play at the Open, which is scheduled to start Monday.

Tournament officials prepared for high winds by bringing in cranes overnight to remove the two-ton scoreboards from the top of the stadium and replaced them with two smaller scoreboards courtside.

Tournament director Anne Worcester said if play had been stopped one more time, they would have moved indoors.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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