NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's professional tennis tournament, on the verge of shutting down a year ago, saw attendance increase this week for the first time since 2005.
Tournament officials said the Connecticut Open wrapped up Sunday with a weeklong crowd of 47,140 at the Connecticut Tennis Center.
The event drew 45,796 last year when it was the New Haven Open. Attendance was still far below the more than 90,000 it drew a decade ago and the 76,480 who came in 2010, the last year it was a combined men's and women's event.
And the attendance Sunday — 3,285 — was the lowest ever for a New Haven final. It was won by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova over Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-4, 6-2.
Last fall, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration agreed to spend $618,000 to buy the Women's Tennis Association sanctioning rights to the tournament and keep it from moving to North Carolina. Earlier this year, United Technologies signed on as the main sponsor.
A men's, women's or combined tournament has operated in New Haven since 1990. But the tournament has not had a title sponsor since Pilot Pen left in 2010 along with the male players.
Tournament director Anne Worcester said attendance this year was helped by a player field that included 11 of the top 25 ranked women in the world, and the addition of men's exhibition matches featuring retired stars Andy Roddick, James Blake and Jim Courier. Thursday night's session, when Roddick played Blake, was the most well-attended of the tournament, drawing more than 4,300 fans.
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