- Associated Press - Saturday, August 27, 2011

NEW HAVEN,Conn. _ Top-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was among those traveling into the storm Saturday.

After playing and winning the New Haven Open in Connecticut, she headed into New York for next week’s U.S. Open.

Wozniacki and Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska began play shortly after 1 p.m. outside at the Connecticut Tennis Center on the Yale campus, a start time that was moved from 5 p.m. in the hopes of avoiding the effects of the storm.

The match was just 14 minutes old when officials suspended play because of the rain from the outer bands of the hurricane. The delay lasted for about 1 hour, 40 minutes in the first set. The players returned to the court for what officials predicted would be a 1 1/2-hour window for tennis and Wozniacki won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, her fourth consecutive title at Yale.

The tournament had made contingency plans to move the match inside to Yale’s Cullman-Heyman tennis center if the rain got in the way, and both players warmed up in the building, just in case.

“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.”

Tournament officials brought in cranes overnight to remove the two-ton scoreboards from the top of the tennis stadium and replaced them with two smaller scoreboards courtside.

Tournament director Anne Worcester said she also allowed vendors to leave early, tearing down tents and anything else that couldn’t handle hurricane-force winds.

“It was just a miracle that we got that final in,” Worcester said. “If we had pulled the players one more time, we were going indoors. I wasn’t going to pull them, wait and them maybe go back out, maybe go indoors. We were definitely going indoors.”

Both players kept their postgame interviews short and left immediately for New York.

“They said the rain and the wind should be coming only tomorrow,” Cetkovska said. “So we would like to get safe to the hotel as soon as possible.”

Wozniacki said they never considered staying in Connecticut or flying somewhere else until the hurricane passed.

“We’re checking the radars all the time,” she said. “It looks OK now that it’s OK to go down there. We’re going to be safe inside tonight.”

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