New Haven Open 2012: Maria Kirilenko Will Carry Solid Play to US Open

Tony GiardinaCorrespondent IJune 13, 2016

Petra Kvitova may have taken the New Haven Open, but runner-up Maria Kirilenko has plenty to build off of as the US Open draws nearer. Kvitova went through the tournament without losing a single set, but had to hold off Kirilenko in the final 7-6(9), 7-5.

Kirilenko had come into the final without losing a set either, though she played only five of them before her match against Kvitova. Her second round opponent, Mona Barthel, withdrew due to an illness, giving her a free pass to the quarterfinals. In the semifinals against Caroline Wozniacki, Kirilenko won the first set 7-5 before Wozniacki retired due to a knee injury.

Currently No. 12 in the WTA Rankings, Kirilenko is playing the best tennis of her career. She is coming off of a quarterfinals appearance at Wimbledon and an impressive Olympic performance that saw her take bronze in doubles and a fourth place finish in singles. She still feels confident heading into this week's US Open even after the loss to Kvitova. 

Even though I lost today, I still feel positive. I played really well this week. I played good match today. Unfortunately, I was unlucky. But I have couple days to recover because I know that I'm playing Tuesday. So two days, it's good for me to have rest.

She certainly put up a fight against Kvitova, something no other player did during the New Haven Open. After forcing a tiebreak in the first set, she was up 5-2 in the second before Kvitova came storming back to take the set and the match.

Kirilenko will have to close better to advance deep into the US Open, but she is coming into the tournament with great momentum. Her biggest obstacle in reaching the quarterfinals of her second straight grand slam tournament is Serena Williams, who is widely considered to be the favorite to win it all.

The road may not be easy for Kirilenko, as she is slated for a fourth round matchup with Serena if they both get there, but she's playing the best tennis of her life and anything can happen at Flushing Meadows.