Brengle wins women’s title
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2014) – 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 Kentucky Bank finals.
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.”
Three former Wildcats inducted into UK 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 Dec. 9, 2005, leaving one of the greatest legacies in Kentucky tennis history.