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$100,000 Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships Return To Lexington

June 30, 2011 09:32 AM
The 17th annual Lexington 50K Challenger Event is now complete.
On the men's side, the top two seeds Britain's James Ward and American Wayne Odesnik were on a crash course to the finals as the two convincingly won all four of their matches leading up to the finals, dropping a combined 1 set. The two had played once already this year with Ward taking their first meeting.  In the finals former World No. 77, Wayne Odesnik, was able to get his revenge winning, 7-5, 6-4. 
In the first set, Odesnik was able to hold off multiple break points at 4-4 and 5-5, but then capitalized on his opportunity have a set point at 5-6 he broke Ward's serve to take the first set 7-5. Odesnik continued the momentum swing and quickly raced off to a 5-0 lead in the second set. Ward was able to mount a comeback to 4-5, but once again Odesnik was able to close out the set, 6-4.
Odesnik hopes that by winning this tournament and moving his ranking back up to World No. 160, he will be able to use his new found confidence to continue his comeback on the ATP World Tour. He was ranked in the Top 100 two years ago, but after serving a short ban from play, he is back and enjoying his opportunity to once again compete on tour. He hopes to find himself once again among the games elite and that the US summer hard court season can be the starting point for his comeback. 
Also in action on the men's side were numerous Southern players. After receiving wild cards, Rhyne Williams and Eric Quigley had the unfortunate luck to play each other in the first round. Williams won the all-Southern battle 6-3, 7-5, but lost to the top seeded Ward in the second round. 
On the women's side, after receiving a wild card into the event, Atlanta native and top seed Melanie Oudin lost in the first round. This opened up the draw, allowing Amanda Fink to become the first qualifier in tournament history to reach the finals. In the finals, Fink faced her friend Chichi Scholl who upset number six and four seeds en route to her appearance in the finals.
In the finals, it appeared that the heated began to take its toll on Fink, who had played even longer than Scholl, because she had to make her way through qualifying before starting the main draw. Scholl won 6-1, 6-1 in the finals and after the match Fink had to be treated for heat exhaustion. 
Scholl also became the first player to win both singles and doubles in the tournament. 
For the 17th consecutive year, Lexington will host The USTA Pro Circuit Tour, known as the Lexington Challenger, with a total purse of $100,000. The Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships, presented by Lexus of Lexington, brings more than 140 men and women from five continents to the University of Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, July 18-24 for exciting professional tennis action.
"The Fifth Third Bank Championships continue to grow and have become an important tennis event for Kentucky," says Fifth Third Bank Lexington President, Mike Ash. "As we go in to our seventeenth year, the tennis community recognizes this Lexington Challenger as an amazing social and networking event. We have a great opportunity to witness some of the best young tennis players on their way up in the world rankings."
Each year, the USTA hosts 16 Challenger-level tournaments around the country. Most competitors are full-time ATP tour players with a world ranking of 90-and-above who play the events to improve their rankings and advance to Grand Slam events. "Every year at this time we look at Wimbledon results and usually find 15 or more 'Fifth Third alums' in the draw – and we central Kentucky tennis fans can take great pleasure in remembering we saw them here before they hit the big stage," said Jim Durham, Lexington Challenger Media Director.
The Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships has a proven record of drawing the next wave of promising athletes. Some of today's tennis stars who first drew notice at the Lexington tour stop include James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt and 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli; and rising American stars Melanie Oudin, Mardy Fish, John Isner and Ryan Harrison.
In addition to the professional competition, the 2011 Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships will feature the following:
• Monday, July 18 – Bluegrass Orthopedics Pro-Am Night
• Tuesday, July 19 – Kentucky NJTL Kid's Day and Big Blue Night
• Wednesday, July 20 – Commerce Lexington Business Link
• Thursday, July 21 – Ladies' Night
• Friday, July 22 – Maker's 46 Men's Night benefitting the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
• Saturday, July 23 – Volleys and Vineyards Night presented by Cameron Hughes Wines
• Sunday, July 24 – Championship Sunday presented by Michelob Ultra
Tickets can be purchased during the tournament at the UK's Boon Tennis Complex; single session tickets are $10 each and week-long passes are $50. Complete tournament information can be found at www.lexingtonchallenger.com.
For 2011, Bluegrass Management Group has taken over tournament management from Lagardère Unlimited. Bluegrass Management Group is a Lexington (KY) based event and corporate hospitality company. With over 58-years of collective business experience, partners Sam Dunn & Malcolm Jennings have provided high-end services for a prestigious list of national and international clients. www.bluegrassmanagementgroup.com



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