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Connecticut Open leaving New Haven

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Connecticut Open tennis tournament is leaving New Haven after a 21-year run in the city, organizers said Friday.

The operators of the tournament have sold the sanction for the WTA event to APG, a sports and entertainment company that is planning to put on a tournament in September in Zhengzhou, China.

The financial model of the Connecticut Open was no longer viable, organizers said. The Tennis Foundation of Connecticut said it is exploring whether another professional tennis event can be drawn to the city.

“It has been an amazing 21-year run for women’s professional tennis in New Haven, and we are truly grateful to all the fans, volunteers, players, media and sponsors involved,” tournament director Anne Worcester said.

The tournament traditionally has taken place in August, the final WTA tuneup before the U.S. Open.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said the tournament has helped to boost the city financially and bring it global attention since it began in 1998.

“We remain hopeful that professional tennis will return to New Haven in the very near future,” Harp said.

The tournament’s finances have been tenuous for several years and it nearly moved out of state before Connecticut bought the rights to the tournament in 2013 for $618,000. In 2017, the state completed a $2.5 million renovation of the facility where the tournament is held in hopes of getting more out of the venue than just the tennis event.

“It stayed in New Haven due to efforts by many people when there was almost certainty five years ago that it would leave for another state. Five additional years of economic impact, marketing of the state around the world, and year-round community outreach programs is something to be celebrated,” said Mark Ojakian, who helped to save the tournament when he was former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s chief of staff.

Tsonga rallies past qualifier to reach quarterfinals in Lyon

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LYON, France (AP) Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Canadian qualifier Steven Diez on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals and extend his perfect record at the Lyon Open.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion, came within two points of losing but finally prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on his sixth match point after 2 hours, 42 minutes.

The clay-court event serves as a warmup for the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“It was good for me to play a long match like this,” Tsonga said. “I haven’t played a match this long for a while. I am not playing my best level, but I am giving everything mentally and that gives me confidence.”

Tsonga will next take on top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat lucky loser Tristan Lamasine 7-5, 7-5.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Top-seeded Barty withdraws from French Open warm-up event

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STRASBOURG, France (AP) Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the Internationaux de Strasbourg clay-court tournament on Tuesday because of a right arm injury.

Barty was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica.

The eighth-ranked Australian said she would not take any risk ahead of the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“I gave it my best chance, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be playing my best tennis,” Barty said. “I’m busy the next two months and I need to look after my body now.”