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All-American Semifinal in the Women’s Division

News Release – July 25, 2014
Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships
All-American Semifinal in the Women’s Division
LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’ll be an All-American semifinals Saturday in the women’s singles of the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.
Melanie Oudin, Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle and Nicole Gibbs all advanced after winning their quarterfinal matches with the three contenders for the USTA Pro Circuit wild card to the US Open all winning in straight sets.
In Friday’s feature match, 22-year-old Oudin defeated another American, Maria Sanchez of California, 7-6(2), 6-1. Sanchez, 24, had climbed through the qualifying rounds into the quarterfinals of the main draw, winning five matches to get there.
In the first set, she kept up with Oudin. The two players mirrored each other as they fought back and forth. Sanchez broke Oudin, held her serve, and then broke Oudin again to pull ahead 3-0. Oudin broke Sanchez, gained some confidence, held her serve and broke Sanchez again to tie the score 3-3. Oudin held her serve to make it 4-3, and Sanchez held her serve to make 4-4. She then broke Oudin and Oudin broke her, tying the score once again, 5-5.  Oudin went on to win her serve, and Sanchez was right behind her to win her serve, sending the two competitors into a tiebreak at 6-6.
It was only in the tiebreak that one player differentiated herself, with Oudin clearly dominating, playing with steady confidence to win the first-set tiebreaker 7-2 and using that same momentum to take the second set 6-2.
“ I thought I played a solid tiebreak,” said Oudin, a former 2009 US Open quarterfinalist. “I knew whoever got the tiebreak had a good advantage in the match, and that’s exactly what happened. I got the momentum, and you could tell she was frustrated. My second set was solid, as well. I took care of the basics and didn’t do too much; I did enough to win.”
Oudin, who is from Atlanta and has been as high in the rankings as 31, will play Brengle in the semis at 6 p.m.
The No. 2 seed, Brengle defeated Romina Oprandi of Switzerland on Friday, 6-4, 6-2.
Brengle, a 24-year-old from Dover, Del., came from a game behind to break Oprandi and tie the first set at 4-4. Brengle then held serve and again broke Oprandi, who was ranked 32 last year before being sidelined by a shoulder injury that still seems to bother her. She went on to win the first set, 6-4. The second set, Brengle consistently made sure her opponent hit one extra ball, a strategy that put her up 6-2 over Oprandi to win the match.
 “I try and get a lot of balls back so that it gives me that extra chance, unless, of course they’re sitters and that’s no good,” said Brengle, who is ranked 151. “But when I hit smart shots it presses my opponent to try and finish the point.”
Brengle and Oudin have played a few times before. Oudin described their last match as lopsided, with the two of them splitting sets with extreme scores before Oudin took the third set.
“It wasn’t the best quality tennis for either of us,” she said. “Hopefully tomorrow will be a lot better.”
Oudin, who is running second in points behind Gibbs in contention for the US Open wild card said she is not even thinking about it. (The recipient is determined by who accumulates the most ranking points in the best of two of three selected Challenger tournaments, with Lexington being the last stop),
“I think the reason I am playing so well is I don’t care,” she said. “If I am playing well enough I will be there; I am totally fine just playing my game and taking it one match at a time.”
Melanie Oudin f1 ( Melanie Oudin )
Leading the contenders is Gibbs, whose 6-1, 6-3 win over the No. 1 seed, Jarmila Gajdosova, in the quarterfinals provided testament to the prediction made by fans seeking her autograph that the 21-year-old is going places.
And the US Open might be one of them. Gibbs, who lives in California and was an NCAA champion in both singles and doubles in 2012 for Stanford, said it is in the back of her mind, but she is still taking it a match at a time. And, on Friday Gajdosova had no answers for Gibbs’ strong play.
“I tried, but it really was not my day,” said Gajdosova, of Australia, who is already ranked 149 in singles after coming back in January from a year off. “I felt like I was hitting the ball well, but that last ball just didn’t go my way. I have to give credit to her [Gibbs]; she’s a good mover and a smart player.”    
Gibbs said she was feeling better than she had Thursday night, when her hip tightened up mid first set. Though it looked as though she might retire, Gibbs rallied for a tight second-set win and definitive third-set win.
“My hip was better today, and I’m hoping for even better tomorrow,” she said. “I went out there today anticipating a tough match and was very happy to get away with straight sets.”
On Saturday in the semi-finals she will play Falconi, who advanced after defeating Japan’s Nao Habino 6-2, 6-7, 6-4.
Falconi took the first set 6-2 but said she could not close out the second set or the second-set tiebreaker.
“She is one of those players who knows how to bring it when she is behind,” said Falconi about 19-year-old Hibino of Japan.
That was true in the third set when, down 2-5, Hibino stepped up her play and broke Falconi, then followed with a decisive hold. Falconi got back on track and closed out the set and the match with a serve down the middle that set her up for a backhand volley winner.
Falconi said that she appreciated winning “when Hibino was playing at her best.”
Last Year’s Finalists Advance to Semis of Men’s Singles
Last year’s finalists, winner James Ward of Great Britain and finalist James Duckworth of Australia, are both headed to the semifinals on Saturday.
No. 5 seed Ward advanced after his opponent, who’d been playing not fully recovered from a pulled muscle in his thigh, retired in the second set with Ward ahead 7-6(4), 4-2. Ward will play American Wayne Odesnik Saturday at 4 p.m.
Odesnik won this tournament in 2011 after beating Ward and took Ireland’s James McGee in straight sets Friday, 6-3, 6-4. McGee had taken out the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Evgeny Donskoy, in the first round. Odesnik, who has won seven Challenger titles in his career, said he has been training hard in Florida and is glad to see it paying off. 
Wayne Odesnik f4
(Wayne Odesnik)
No. 6 seed Duckworth defeated American Chase Buchanan 6-4, 6-3. Duckworth said he has continued to work at becoming a more aggressive player and used that aspect of his game to overcome Buchanan. He will play 18-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Kokkinakis defeated Belgian Reuben Bemelmans 7-6(7), 7-6(6) in the feature match Friday night.
Service breaks were the story early in the first set, two each after Kokkinakis held in the first game of the set. Bemelmans was broken on unforced errors; Kokkinakis on a series of double faults. With both players hovering around 50 percent on first-serve percentages, it became a battle of returns and baseline rallies, and there were no more breaks as the set went to a tiebreak.  
After a three-minute delay between the chair umpire and Kokkinakis regarding a questionable call on his first serve, play resumed. At 5-5, Bemelmans and Kokkinakis exchanged aces to tie it up 6-6. Up 8-7 on a Bemelmans’ unforced error, Kokkinakis took the tiebreak and the set 7-6(7) on a kick serve that Bemelmans sent out just out wide.
Bemelmans said he played a great first set. The 26-year-old Belgian felt like the set, and the match, could have gone either way, but he said he did miss a few chances in the second set.
In the second set, both players held serve through the first four games, and then Kokkinakis broke Bemelmans in game five. Kokkinakis struggled with his first serve early in the set (36 percent), and it caught up with him in game six when Bemelmans broke back to tie it up at 3-3. Kokkinakis fought off two set points in game 12 as both players held serve for the next six games, sending the second set into another tiebreak. Once again, the tiebreak was dead even until, up 7-6, Kokkinakis found the first serve that had eluded him and took the second set 7-6(6) to win the match.
When asked about the match, Kokkinakis said his serve was “horrendous,” and he was just happy with the results of such a close match. The wild-card player said the match was much more a game of groundstrokes and there were some “fiery” points out there.
Late last year, Kokkinakis lost to Duckworth in straight sets and said he is hoping to do better this time around.
The match will be held at 6 p.m. at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
Defending Men’s Doubles Champ Returns in Finals
Defending doubles champion Peter Polansky returns to center court Saturday night when he and partner Adil Shamasdin face Chase Buchanan and James McGee in the men’s doubles finals at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.
Polansky and Shamasdin are the No. 2-seeded doubles team and both from Canada. Polansky, 26, is from North York, Canada, and currently ranked 147 in doubles. He returns to Lexington as the doubles champion from last year’s tournament, which he won with Canadian Frank Dancevic. Shamasdin, 32, is from Toronto and is ranked 108 in doubles. He has a career-high doubles ranking of 58 from 2011.  
 Buchanan, 23, is from Columbus, Ohio, and a five-time All-American while at Ohio State. He comes to Lexington having just won a doubles title at Manta, Ecuador, earlier this month. He partnered with Dublin native McGee, 27, last week in the Granby Challenger tournament where they made it to the semifinals.
The match will be held at 8 p.m. at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
No. 2 and 3 Seeds Face Off in Women’s Doubles Finals
Two among the top three seeds in the women’s doubles will face off in the finals Saturday night at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.
No. 2 seed Shuko Aoyama and Keri Wong will be playing against Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith. Aoyama is from Kanagawa, Japan, and currently ranked 58 in doubles. She owns multiple doubles titles. Her partner, Wong, is a 24-year-old Jackson, Miss., native who plays for the Clemson Tigers. Wong is a two-time doubles All-American and currently ranked 184 in doubles. She recently won a doubles title in Pelham, Ala.
Rae, 23, is from Nottingham, England, and the owner of 15 doubles titles on the ITF tour. She is currently ranked 116 in doubles. Rae had made five appearances in doubles competition at Wimbledon, twice advancing to the second round. She is partnered with Smith, who is currently ranked at a career-high 114 in doubles. Smith, 25, is from Surrey, England, and has won 21 doubles titles so far. She’s won five this year while playing with Rae.
 The match will be held at 8 p.m. at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.
For more information, please contact media coordinator Rena Baer at 859-351-3230 or rena.baer@twc.com
Kentucky Bank Tennis Championship
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center
Lexington, KY
Surface: Hard
Friday, July 25 – RESULTS
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
(2) Madison Brengle, USA, def. (8) Romina Oprandi, SUI, 6-4, 6-2,
(7) Nicole Gibbs, USA, def. (1) Jarmila Gajdosova, AUS, 6-1, 6-3,
(5) Irina Falconi, USA, def. Nao Hibino, JPN, 6-2, 6(4)-7, 6-4,
(3) Melanie Oudin, USA, def. Q-Maria Sanchez, USA, 7-6(2), 6-1.
Women’s Doubles – Semifinals
(2) Shuko Aoyama, JPN, and Keri Wong, USA, def. Jamie Loeb and Ashley Weinhold, USA, 6-1, 6-4,
(3) Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, GBR, def. WC-Kristie Ahn and Kaitlyn Christian, USA, 6-3, 6-2.
Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
(6) James Duckworth, AUS, def. Chase Buchanan, USA, 6-4, 6-3,
Wayne Odesnik, USA, def. James McGee, IRL, 6-3, 6-4,
(5) James Ward, GBR, def. Vincent Millot, FRA, 7-6(4), 4-2, ret,
WC-Thanasi Kokkinakis, AUS, def. Ruben Bemelmans, BEL, 7-6(7), 7-6(6).
Men’s Doubles – Semifinals
Chase Buchanan, USA, and James McGee, IRL, def. Jarmere Jenkins, USA, and Sanam Singh, IND, 6-1, 6-4,
(2) Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin, CAN, def. WC-Eric Quiqley and Kevin Metka, USA, 6-4, 6-4.
Saturday, July 25 – SCHEDULE
Women’s Singles – Semifinals
Stadium 2 – Starting at 4 p.m.
(7) Nicole Gibbs, USA, vs. (5) Irina Falconi, USA, followed by,
(2) Madison Brengle, USA, vs. (3) Melanie Oudin, USA.
Women’s Doubles – Finals
Stadium 2 – Following previous match, but not before 8 p.m.
(2) Shuko Aoyama, JPN, and Keri Wong, USA, vs. (3) Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, GBR.
Men’s Singles – Semifinals
Stadium 1 – Starting at 4 p.m.
(5) James Ward, GBR, vs. Wayne Odesnik, USA, followed by,
(6) James Duckworth, AUS, vs. WC-Thanasi Kokkinakis, AUS.
Men’s Doubles – Finals
Stadium 1 – Following previous match, but not before 8 p.m.
Chase Buchanan, USA, and James McGee, IRL, vs. (2)Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin, CAN.
For more information, contact:
RENA BAER, Tournament Press Aide
Cell: (859)351-3230
Email: rena.baer@twc.com
For more information, please contact media coordinator Rena Baer at 859-351-3230 or rena.baer@twc.com. 

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