Wimbledon champ-toppling teen first to sign up for New Haven Open

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While practicing in Yale's Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center last week, Christia McHale — the first women's tennis player to sign up for the New Haven Open at Yale — took a moment to pose with members of the Yale men's tennis team.

The countdown to world-class women’s tennis this summer has begun: American No. 2 Christina McHale has committed to playing in the 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara.

This year’s event will take place Aug. 17-25, at the Connecticut Tennis Center. Yale is both a venue for and a major supporter of the tournament, a World Tennis Association (WTA) event that is part of the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series.

Already in 2012, McHale has recorded a win over reigning Wimbledon champion and World No. 3 Petra Kvitova, amassing an undefeated record for the United States in Fed Cup play, and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 32 in the world. Last year as a wildcard at the New Haven Open, the teenager beat two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in her run to the quarterfinals. Just two weeks prior, McHale became the lowest-ranked player in 2011 to defeat world No. 1 and four-time New Haven Open champion Caroline Wozniacki.

“We are thrilled to have Christina return to play at the New Haven Open,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director. “She is a rising American star who has climbed more than 70 spots in the WTA rankings over the past year. She is another example of how the stars of tomorrow annually shine at the New Haven Open.”

McHale showed 300 New Haven first- and second-graders what it takes to be a top tennis player on April 26 during the 11th annual First Niagara Tennis Play Day. McHale introduced many of the students to the sport and talked to them about the importance of fitness in their lives through fun, low-pressure play. The youngsters were also encouraged to continue playing tennis by signing up for affordable summer programs offered by New Haven Parks & Rec. To date, more than 5,000 New Haven youths have participated in these year-round tennis programs, which also offer academic support and mentorship.

This year, in honor of Mother’s Day, the tournament is offering fans a gift package: Between Tuesday, May 1 and Sunday, May 13, fans will have early access to individual session box and middle-tier seats, which normally go on sale June 1. Anyone purchasing $150 or more in tickets will receive a Molton Brown gift pack featuring Heavenly Gingerlily Bodywash and a $30 Molton Brown gift card ($44 value).

Watch YaleNews for information about other special events and discounts being offered in conjunction with the tournament.

Log on to www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366 for more information. Join New Haven Open on Facebook & Twitter for tournament updates, contests, and more.

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