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Duckworth Takes Singles Title, Breaks Losing Streak Against Ward; Brengle Takes Title, Gibbs Gets Wild Card

News Release – July 27, 2014

Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships

www.lexingtonchallenger.com

 



Duckworth Takes Singles Title, Breaks Losing Streak Against Ward; Brengle Takes Title, Gibbs Gets Wild Card

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Australia’s James Duckworth walked onto the court for the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships men’s singles finals Sunday afternoon with a score to settle, and he did exactly that.

 

The 22-year-old native of Sydney played Great Britain’s James Ward, who is ranked 150th in the world and has beaten Duckworth all three times they’ve been opponents. One of those previous matches was in last year men’s singles finals here, which Duckworth lost in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 4-6.

 

This year Duckworth came out on top – in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.

 

“So it was not a good record going into the final, but I felt like I had gotten better with every match this week,” said No. 6 seed Duckworth after the match.

 

“Quigley played a tough match, and from there I got some momentum,” he said, referring to his first-round match against former University of Kentucky Wildcat Eric Quigley, which went to three sets 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5.

 

From there, Duckworth won in straight sets all the way through the finals.

 

Against No. 5 seed Ward, Duckworth played a very aggressive game, mixing up the pace of his groundstrokes both forehand and backhand, and working the corners of the court. He had the edge on serving, as well, winning points off 85 percent of his first serves to Ward’s 74 percent.

 

“I think it has been a gradual process of evolving my game,” Duckworth said about the difference in his game today from a year ago. “My trainers and I have put a lot of effort toward playing more aggressively, coming forward more, and making things happen under pressure. Playing aggressively is what I felt I did well today.”

 

Duckworth was equally effective in neutralizing Ward’s powerful serve, which has been an extraordinary weapon all week. Ward hit eight aces in his first-round match against former Wildcat and All-American Jesse Witten and followed that with 12 aces against Vincent Millot (who retired from play in the second set) and seven aces against Wayne Odesnik.

 

In the finals, Duckworth won points off 26 percent of Ward’s first serves compared with Ward who won points off 15 percent of Duckworth’s first serves.

 

“I have focused a lot on returning; picking up on where the other guy tends to hit the ball and doing a better job of reading it,” Duckworth said, who got the edge on aces in the finals, too, hitting eight to Ward’s six.

Ward was matter of fact about the loss and seemed to take it in stride.

 

“I missed too many balls, and it’s disappointing; I’ll move on and try to play better next week,” he said.

 

But he lamented the change of venue when weather forced both the men’s and women’s finals inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center. Matches had been outside all week until severe thunderstorms rolled through Central Kentucky Saturday night and stayed most of the day Sunday.

 

“It is a completely different match, playing indoors,” Ward said. “No rallies; nothing else comes the same, and he dealt with it better than I did.”

Mens Finalists with Kentucky Bank a(Left to Right, Louis Prichard, James Ward, James Duckworth

Brengle Takes Title, Gibbs Gets Wild Card

 

American Madison Brengle was a model of consistency this week at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, including in the finals, where her steadiness and resolve to come back in the second set led her to a 6-3, 6-4 win over fellow American Nicole Gibbs.

 

“We were closely matched in the first set,” said No. 2 seed Brengle, a 24-year-old from Dover, Del., who trains at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and is ranked 151. “When I got down 4-2 in the second set, though, I knew I had to start off each point aggressively, both my serves and my returns.”

 

The first set, Brengle moved easily, using her athleticism to chase down balls and make very few errors. No. 7 seed Gibbs came to Lexington straight off of two Challenger events, one of which she won last week, defeating Melanie Oudin, a fellow competitor in this tournament whom Brengle took out in the semifinals Saturday.

 

On Sunday, Gibbs didn’t seem as charged as Brengle as she made more errors and looked more leg weary than her opponent. Still, the 21-year-old from California rallied in the second set to get ahead 4-2, but Brengle did not back down, coming back stronger.

 

“I didn’t have a choice,” said Brengle. “She was playing too well.”

 

Gibbs, a former standout at Stanford University who is currently ranked 167, was complimentary of Brengle’s game but admitted the past few weeks have somewhat wearing.

 

“I have had a long couple weeks, so I didn’t show up with quite the same precision I’ve shown in some of my other matches,” she said. “Madison played really well, fought hard and got the big points. I’m looking for a better match-up next time.”

 

Gibbs said an earlier issue with her hip did not come into play.

 

“ It had nothing to do with the outcome; I got outplayed,” she said. “Maybe I was a step slow but that happens at the end of the week, and she had to deal with it as much as I do.”

 

Gibbs, Oudin and Brengle all came into the tournament as contenders for a USTA Pro Circuit wild card into the US Open main draw based on points from the best two results from three specific hard-court Challenger tournaments (Sacramento, Calif.; Carson; Calif.; and Lexington).

 

Despite Brengle’s win this weekend, Gibbs received the wild card. Gibbs had the lead coming here, having been the only contender with a title in one of the series’ first two tournaments. Oudin was behind her, having lost to Gibbs in the finals of the Carson, Calif., Challenger, and Brengle was third with her previous best finish being in the semifinals of the Sacramento Challenger. When Brengle defeated Oudin in the semifinals, she took Oudin out of the running, assuring Gibbs the wild card.

 

“It is in the back of your mind throughout these tournaments,” Gibbs said. “You come out taking it one match at a time. After I lost second round at Sacramento, I thought I had virtually no chance at the wild card. So I came out swinging last week at Carson, and then I’m in the lead coming into this week. I just wanted to come through with a solid performance and give myself the best chance of achieving that opportunity.”

 

Brengle had said Saturday that she was fine with not getting the wild card.

 

“Whether I go there and play in qualifying or go there in the main draw, New York is still New York,” she said.

Womens Finalists w Kentucky Banks(Left to Right, Louis Prichard, Nicole Gibbs, Madison Brengle)

 

 

Three Former Wildcats Inducted Into the University of Kentucky Wildcat Tennis Hall of Fame

 

 

Three former Wildcats were inducted Sunday into the University of Kentucky Wildcat Tennis Hall of Fame: Billy Evans, Tom Jomby and Les Chapman.

 

  • Evans was one of the original two-sports standouts at the University of Kentucky and was one of the most highly recruited players ever to commit to the Wildcats, where he played No. 1 singles for all three seasons he played (1952, ’54, ’55). Evans was even more successful as a basketball player for the Wildcats. He was the fourth-leading scorer for the undefeated (25-0) 1953-’54 basketball team. His 1954-’55 team was ranked No. 2 in the country, while the 1953-54 team finished the season No. 1 overall in the country. In 1956, Evans helped the United States to Olympic gold in Australia in the sport of basketball.
  • Recent graduate Tom Jomby was named an All-American in both his 2013 and 2014 season for singles, as well as accumulating the honor in 2013 for his doubles play with Kevin Lai. Jomby was a key part of UK’s 2012 Southeastern Conference championship, 2011 elite eight appearance and its two SEC tournament finals in 2011 and 2012.
  • Les Chapman is unique to Kentucky on two fronts. First, Chapman is Kentucky’s first – and only – two-time SEC individual champion. Chapman won the SEC No. 3 doubles as a sophomore in 1970 with Steve Imhoff. He followed that up as a junior in 1971 by repeating with Randy Edmiston. With the SEC moving to a team format for the championships, it is a record that will stand for a long time at UK. Recruited by coach Richard Vimont, Chapman is also unique in UK history as one of the first scholarship foreign athletes recruited to the school.

 

 

UK Tennis Center Garden Named in Honor of Stephen Mather

 

The new Stephen Mather Tennis Garden will greet visitors to the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. The garden was named in Mather’s honor on Sunday.

A standout on the 1992 Wildcat SEC Championship team, Mather was a four-year starter for the Wildcats and as a junior player won seven Creason championships and a Southern closed tournament.

As a high school player at Trinity, he reached four state singles finals, winning in 1986 and leading his team to the state championships.

As an adult, Mather won seven Kentucky state closed championships and was inducted into the KTA Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997.

Mather passed away December 9, 2005 , leaving one of the greatest legacies in Kentucky tennis history.

 

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center

Lexington, KY

Surface: Hard

 

Sunday, July 27 – RESULTS

Women’s Singles – Finals

(2) Madison Brengle, USA, def. (7) Nicole Gibbs, 6-3, 6-4.

 

Men’s Singles – Finals

(6) James Duckworth, AUS, def. (5) James Ward, GBR, 6-3, 6-4.

 

For more information, contact:

RENA BAER, Tournament Press Aide

Cell: (859)351-3230

Email: rena.baer@twc.com

 

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